With partly cloudy skies and Mount Rainier rising high above the horizon, a C-17 Globemaster III taxis to its parking spot on McChord Field. While aircraft maintenance members from the 446th Airlift Wing begin post-flight inspections, one Airman stands out among the rest.
Senior Airman Adam Olander, a crew chief assigned to the 446th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, was recently named the winner of the Air Force Reserve Command Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez award in the Aircraft Maintenance Technician category.
The annual award, named in honor of Lt. Gen. Leo Marquez, recognizes maintainers who excel in technological maintenance. Marquez, once stationed at McChord Field as a maintenance officer, served in the Air Force for 33 years as a pilot and maintenance officer. Because of his revolutionary approach to Air Force maintenance, by improving efficiency and effectiveness of the occupation, he is known as the “godfather of maintenance.”
“He’s sharp and professional and stands out amongst all of his peers,” said Senior Master Sgt. Daniel Silva, 446th AMXS flight chief. “He never says no to any kind of extra project, and he’s constantly stepping up looking for things to do.”
Olander has been working on the C-17 for about four years. With a keen eye for maintenance, he identified a critical safety concern in one of the aircraft maintenance manuals.
“While performing landing gear servicing, Senior Airman Olander had recognized a safety problem with the servicing chart in the technical order,” said Tech. Sgt. Tony Carroll, a C-17 crew chief and Olander’s supervisor.
With some mentorship, Olander was able to document the problem and submitted a possible solution to the aircraft manufacturer. Once accepted, the change was distributed to all the C-17 aircraft maintenance units across the Air Force.
“Everyone enjoys a pat on the back sometimes,” Olander said. “But, I am not the type of person who likes to stand up on stage to be recognized in front of everyone. I just like to get out there and do my job.”
In addition to his Air Force Reserve obligations, Olander is currently working as a production lead for a large knife manufacturing company and going to college.
“I’m currently going to school to earn my bachelor’s degree,” Olander said. “I haven’t fully decided on a major, but have narrowed it down to manufacturing engineering or business administration.”
After Olander finishes his degree, he has aspirations to commission as an officer in the Air Force Reserve.
“The Air Force Reserve is a great way to serve and still pursue a civilian career,” Olander said. “I just feel it’s my duty and obligation to serve and be a part of something bigger.”