LAUGHLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — Rene Martinez, a 47th Maintenance Squadron T-6A Texan II aircraft mechanic, was chosen by wing leadership to be the “XLer” of the week, Feb. 3, 2020, at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas.
The “XLer” award, presented by Col. Lee Gentile, 47th Flying Training Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Robert L. Zackery III, 47th FTW command chief master sergeant, is given to those who consistently make outstanding contributions to their unit and the Laughlin mission.
Martinez has been working as an aircraft mechanic for many years, and one belief which impacts his everyday work, is practicing excellence in all he does. He said, knowing pilots fly the planes he works on is motivation to ensure he does his job to the best of his ability.
It also greatly affects the way he teaches new maintainers. Where there may be a temptation to take shortcuts, or skip steps, Martinez instructs to follow all procedures steadfastly.
Another part of the job Martinez leads is the maintenance repair team. This is where he ensured landing struts are serviced so aircraft can be returned to the flightline with as little delay to production of combat-ready pilots as possible.
Similarly, he troubleshot, inspected and repaired numerous T-6 aircraft, playing a key role in making Laughlin home of the highest number of aircraft available in Air Education and Training Command.
Finally, but not least, Martinez was alert and ready when a day in the shop took a turn for the worst. A coworker of his was working under a plane, when he was suddenly entrapped, and the speed brake began to close on his arm with the force of 3,000 PSI.
Martinez realized that something was not right and noticed his coworker struggling. Martinez was by the man’s side in an instant and strained with the added force of adrenaline to pry the crushing weight off the arm. Miraculously, he loosened the speed brake enough for his companion to free himself and save his arm from being crushed.
Leadership recognized Martinez because of his committed effort to do the right thing at work, whether that be teaching new maintainers the practice of excellence in their work, or jumping in to prevent a catastrophe happening to a friend.