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Reservists from other services bring unique skills to the fight

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Ethan Spickler

The Air Force Reserve is loaded with highly skilled and highly trained prior-service members who for one reason or another decided the Reserve was a better fit for them than active-duty service. Most prior-service Reservists come from the active-duty Air Force, but the Reserve welcomes prior-service members from all branches of the Armed Forces. The 445th Airlift Wing, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, for example, is home to a couple of maintainers who spent their active-duty time in the Army and the Navy.

Staff Sgt. Ryan Davis, 445th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron avionics specialist and former Army infantryman, said he’s enjoyed his transition from the Army to the Air Force Reserve and that it’s been a great experience to pass on the leadership skills he learned in the Army.

“It’s fulfilling to have the opportunity to work at being a good leader and to help guide others in balancing their responsibilities,” he said. “It allows us to expedite the learning process a little bit and get people on the fast track to success.”

Davis was a mortar gunner in the Army infantry. He thinks his Army experiences help him effectively contribute to the 445th AW.

“It’s rewarding to take past experiences and help others learn from your successes and your mistakes,” he said. “That’s what being a leader is all about.”

Davis said the small team leadership skills that were his focus in the Army are serving him well in the Air Force Reserve.

“I enjoy doing hands-on work and being involved in the process, and I enjoy working in small teams and building relationships with the Airmen I work with,” he said. “I really appreciate the professionalism of the Air Force at every level. People have taken me under their wing and now I have the opportunity to take younger Airmen under my wing and pay it forward by sharing my experiences with them.”

Maintenance Airmen are an integral part of the wing’s mission. From inspecting and troubleshooting equipment to making hands-on repairs and maintaining proper standards, these professionals make sure 445th planes are always ready for flight. Having maintenance Airmen with experience in other branches supplements the Air Force with expertise from around the Total Force.

“Some of the most important skills that are needed in today’s environment are time management and the ability to prioritize activities,” said Tech. Sgt. Bradley Fryman, a communication and navigation technician with the 445th AMXS, and former Navy maintainer.

“What we do requires us to manage stress and also meet and hopefully exceed expectations,” he said. “How we look at leadership plays a huge role in making our maintenance activities a success.”

Fryman believes his experience working on aircraft aboard aircraft carriers helped develop his leadership skills and gave him a passion for problem solving.

“It was a great choice to come here to the 445th, and I am thankful for the experiences I have had and the opportunities I have to bring that experience to the table,” he said. “I feel like my transition from the Navy to the Air Force allowed me to carry over skills and knowledge to what we do here in ways that they otherwise wouldn’t.”

Senior Master Sgt. Gerald Sandoval, 445th AMXS aircraft maintenance unit flight chief, said Davis and Fryman are positive additions to the squadron.

“What I immediately noticed from both Staff Sgt. Davis and Tech. Sgt. Fryman was how they utilized some of their culture and skillsets learned as an Army infantry soldier and a Navy aviation technician,” he said. “They have definitely been noticed by their teammates as well as their supervisors as excellent young leaders and go-to technicians who ensure they are carrying out the mission while always looking out for the safety and well-being of the members around them.”

(Spickler is assigned to the 445th Airlift Wing public affairs office.)