Airman’s passion for aviation extends beyond drill weekends

  • Published
  • By Senior Master Sgt. Michael Crane
  • 139th Airlift Wing

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Airman 1st Class Mary Belle Davidson is a crew chief assigned to the 139th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. She returned home this month from an overseas deployment where she provided C-130 Hercules aircraft maintenance support.

Davidson was deployed to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, with Task Force Iron Herk II supporting European Command’s area of responsibility. Although she graduated from technical school early last year, this is the second time her job in the Missouri Air National Guard has taken her to Germany. Her first time to Europe was for an exercise called Silver Arrow.

As a crew chief, her primary job is launching aircraft on time and without issue. Davidson says crew chiefs are the managers of the aircraft and are responsible for inspecting, troubleshooting, and fixing any issues.

“Updating the preflight check, answering any of the aircrew’s questions. Make sure they’re comfortable with the product we are giving them,” said Davidson describing a typical day on the flight line. “We marshal the aircraft out and send it on its way.”

Davidson says her father has been in the Air National Guard her whole life, so she always knew she would join. Her father also works in aircraft maintenance, but he works on the B-2 Spirit bomber at Whiteman Air Force Base.

Her passion for aviation extends beyond deployments and drill weekends in the Guard. She’s currently studying Aviation Management at the University of Central Missouri with plans to pursue a career in aviation.

Davidson will be spending the rest of her summer in Montana where she works as a whitewater rafting guide. She says she’ll miss the day-to-day work of fixing aircraft.

“The whole experience makes you real proud,” she said. “When it comes down to the point where I’m marshaling the plane out, the engines are started, everyone is on board, the doors are all closed…you can feel the engines vibration in your chest. The fact that I got to have a hand in getting [the aircraft] ready. It’s a great feeling.”