XLer of the Week: Luis Hernandez Jr.

Luis Hernandez Jr., 47th Maintenance Directorate T-6 Texan II aircraft maintenance worker, services the tail of a T-6 at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, June 19, 2018. Hernandez was chosen by wing leadership to be the “XLer” of the week, for the week of June 11, 2018, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Hambor)

Luis Hernandez Jr., 47th Maintenance Directorate T-6 Texan II aircraft maintenance worker, was chosen by wing leadership to be the “XLer” of the week, for the week of June 11, 2018, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. The “XLer” award, presented by Col. Charlie Velino, 47th Flying Training Wing commander, is given to those who consistently make outstanding contributions to their unit and the Laughlin mission. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Daniel Hambor)

LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas --

Luis Hernandez Jr., 47th Maintenance Directorate T-6 Texan II aircraft maintenance worker, was chosen by wing leadership to be the “XLer” of the week, for the week of June 11, 2018, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas.

The “XLer” award, presented by Col. Charlie Velino, 47th Flying Training Wing commander, is given to those who consistently make outstanding contributions to their unit and the Laughlin mission.

Hernandez plays a pivotal role in his team of T-6 maintainers who, every day, ensure the upkeep and availability of pilotable aircraft in the wing. His work in launching, recovering and servicing the aircraft helped the wing become recognized for the wide availability of flyable T-6 aircraft across Air Education and Training Command.

“It’s all about teamwork,” he said. “If somebody is working on one part of the aircraft, somebody else is taking care of the other part. We have each other’s backs.”

He also played a hand in helping train and mentor new employees to the maintenance sector by providing hands on training and enthusiasm for the career field. His role both diversified and expanded the skill sets of his team.

“I feel like they will get a better understanding if they get the training right away—how everything is fast paced out here,” he said. “What it comes down to, is having the urgency of getting the aircraft ready for the pilots and making sure they’re ready to go.”

With the recent construction of the new weather shelters for the T-6 aircraft, Hernandez helped organize a system of repair to further increase the availability of the aircraft by pushing the maintained aircraft forward, while aircraft scheduled for maintenance towards the back.

“We will look at the schedule for the day and see which ones will fly, and the ones that won’t fly we will push them towards the back,” he said. “This helps us prioritize the ones in the front that are scheduled to fly and get them ready for takeoff quicker.”

Hernandez’s work in his career has been recognized early on by his teammates and his unit at the directorate. Later, he would also be recognized by the 85th Flying Training Squadron when they awarded him the employee of the month for March of 2018, and now by the wing by awarding him this week’s “XLer.”

“This is a really big honor,” he said. “Having the wing commander present this award, and come and shake my hand personally, I don’t take that lightly.”