2023 AMT 40 Under 40 Maintenance Professional: SSgt. Joshua D. Hensley — Aircraft Metals Technician, 2nd Maintenance Squadron(2MXS), Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana

Aug. 10, 2023
SSgt. Joshua D. Hensley
SSgt. Joshua D. Hensley

SSgt. Joshua D. Hensley describes himself as a fourth-generation active-duty Army brat who went blue. Hensley’s family never pushed him to join the military. In fact, it was quite the opposite at times. His father, grandfather and uncles encouraged him to go to college, get married and “do your own thing.” 

Although he found there were good schools and good jobs to be had, he says, “I always felt that I was missing something.Perhaps it was growing up listening to stories of war and adventure, stories of comradery between diverse people who gather for the same cause, stories of friendships and being a part of something greater than just yourself.” 

After getting married, Hensley joined the Air Force. “I chose to go into fabrication mostly because I am color deficient,” he says, adding that color doesn’t determine how metal is machined or welded.  

“What I like best about what I do is it gives me the opportunity to work with my hands to create aircraft parts and tools from raw materials,” he says. “It seems like the perfect place for anyone who has a creative mindset, and I often think about Metals Tech as being pure art. We are the only career field that can take a block of aluminum or steel and turn into a precision instrument that can be installed on an aircraft.” 

The B-52 jets that Hensley works on are 60+ years old – and they don’t make parts for them anymore, he says. 

Anytime someone says “it can’t be fixed” that fuels Hensley’s desire to show that it can be fixed. He says, “Maybe it takes an out-of-the box thinker or an unorthodox method to achieve the goal, but when you do fix or create a part from scratch, people tend to look at you like you’re Merlin.”