Michael Thomas

I enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in June 1977.


Upon completion of basic training at Lackland AFB, Texas, in July 1977, I attended Helicopter Maintenance Technical Training School at Sheppard AFB, Texas.


After completing technical school I was assigned to the 1550th OMS, 1550th ATTW, Kirtland AFB, NM, as an Assistant Crew Chief on an YH-53H PAVE LOW III test helicopter where I accomplished helicopter maintenance, troubleshooting, ground handling and servicing. I also assisted Company Engineers and Technical Representatives, install and test new equipment, hardware and software for the aircraft. After achieving a 5 skill level I was assigned as Crew Chief of the first production model HH-53H helicopter, to come out of modification.


In April 1980 I was transferred to the 6594th Test Group, Hickam AFB, HI, where I was assigned to an HH-53C satellite recovery helicopter as an assistant Crew Chief. Also while stationed in Hawaii I attended Honolulu Community College where I attained an FAA Airframe and Power Plant Licenses.


April 1982, 41st CAMS, 41st ARRS, McClellan AFB, California, where I supported the Squadron in its fast paced deployment commitment as an HH-53B Crew Chief, Flight line Expediter, C-5 Load Team Leader, Cargo Courier and Maintenance Recovery Team Chief.


October 1986, DET 14, 67th ARRS, 56th ARRS, Keflavik NAS, Iceland, as an HH-3E Crew Chief and Rescue Alert Team Chief. In the two years I was there my aircraft was responsible for 5 saves, including 2 sailors from the Soviet Union. Also I assisted the Icelandic Rescue Service and the Danish Navy with repairs to their Dolphin and Lynx helicopters. 


October 1988, 542nd OMS, 542nd CTW, Kirtland AFB, NM, as an HH-3E, MH-53J Crew Chief and flight line Expediter. When the H-3s were retired in December 1992 I moved over to the H-60 flight line section as a crew chief and expediter.


February 1994, 31st SOS, Osan AB Korea, I was assigned as an MH-53J Crew Chief, and C-5 Load Team Supervisor.


February 1995, 551st SOS, 58th SOW Kirtland AFB NM, as a Shift Supervisor and flight line Expediter.


I retired from the U.S. Air Force on 1 October 1997.


After I retired from the Air Force I was hired by Raytheon Systems as a Quality Assurance Engineer for the Depot Agile Repair Team (DART) at Kirtland AFB for the H-53s.


May 2000, I was hired as the MH-53J and TH-53A AFETS Representative and in February 2005 transferred to the Vibration Program Management Office as a vibration analysis technician on MH-53J, TH-53A UH-1N, HH-60, C-130 and CV-22 aircraft.