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Group superintendent enhances maintenance mission

Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Lassabe, 403rd Maintenance Group superintendent at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., pauses for a photo on the flight line Sept. 25, 2020. Lassabe's role in the 550-person organization is to provide the commander with information regarding operational effectiveness and the training and equipping of Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Marnee A.C. Losurdo)

Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Lassabe, 403rd Maintenance Group superintendent at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., pauses for a photo on the flight line Sept. 25, 2020. Lassabe's role in the 550-person organization is to provide the commander with information regarding operational effectiveness and the training and equipping of Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Lt. Col. Marnee A.C. Losurdo)

KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --

Fixing things and making them run efficiently is something Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Lassabe knows a thing or two about, especially with his lengthy career as a maintainer in the U.S. Marines, Army National Guard and the Air Force Reserve.

Now, instead of repairing aircraft as his sole mission, he’s switched his focus to make things better for his Airmen in his current role as the 403rd Maintenance Group superintendent, a position he started in November 2019.

“During my tenure, I want to ensure we are reaching our Airmen in a forum that provides open dialogue to make our Air Force better,” he said.

As the group superintendent for the 550-person organization, Lassabe adds value to the group’s leadership team and the Air Force Reserve enterprise by providing the commander with information regarding the operational effectiveness of the group as well as the training and equipping of Airmen to carry out the wing’s mission, said 403rd Wing Command Chief Master Sgt. Amanda J. Stift.

Lassabe works with the 403rd MXG commander, squadron superintendents, career enlisted managers and first sergeants to oversee the readiness, training, health, morale, welfare and quality of life for 403rd MXG Airmen. He is also responsible for the professional development of Airmen to include supporting military education, retention, and professional enhancement programs.

As a liaison between the enlisted and leadership, he wants enlisted members to know that he is here for them.

“I want to ensure our Airmen have the tools and knowledge necessary to move forward in their career, not by default, but because they have been properly prepared for the challenges that they will face in their career,” said Lassabe.

He has a bit of experience when it comes to career challenges and changes, having served in various branches of service and jobs as a full-time Air Reserve Technician and reservist, experience he says he uses to mentor and guide Airmen.

Lassabe enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1996 and his job was as an aviation structural mechanic. After five years of active duty and two Western Pacific tours aboard the USS Boxer and USS Tarawa, he left the Marines and joined the Mississippi Army National Guard and was an aircraft pneudraulics repairer. In December 2001, he joined the 403rd Wing and became an Air Reserve Technician from 2002 to 2006 as a structural maintenance technician in the Fabrication Flight.  He then left the program to work with the 81st Training Support Squadron Trainer Development Flight. As a traditional reservist he has served in several positions to include 403rd Maintenance Squadron Fabrication Flight Chief, 41st Aerial Port Squadron First Sergeant, First Sergeant Council President and 403rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron superintendent. In his civilian capacity, he is currently the Chief, Training Technology Flight, 81st Training Support Squadron.

Lassabe and his fellow group superintendents, to include Chief Master Sergeant Darren Bannister in the 403rd Operations Group and Chief Master Sgt. Larry Anderson in the 403rd Mission Support Group, have been a huge asset to the wing, said Stift.

Prior to the group superintendent positions being added to the Wing’s manpower documents in 2019, the ART force was picking up the extra workload that these positions require, which was way over and above their normal duties to keep the mission going, said Stift.

While the last year has been a learning experience, especially with the challenges of working around COVID-19, but in all, it’s been a fulfilling journey to help Airmen and make a difference, said Lassabe.

“The most rewarding aspect of this job is being able to interact with all of the Airmen throughout the group and to be able to be a part of their mission and seeing that mission succeed,” he said.