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Spotlight on Airmen: aircraft maintainers

U.S Air Force Tech. Sgt. Chris Barnes, an Aircraft Structural Maintenance (ASM) repairman with the 139th Airlift Wing Maintenance Squadron Missouri Air National Guard, works on fabricating a new throttle quadrant cover for a C-130H Hercules air craft at Rosecrans Air National Guard base in Saint Joseph Mo., on December 9, 2014. ASM repairmen fabricate sheet metal repairs, fix dents and cracks, as well as painting and corrosion control on the aircraft. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by: Senior Airman Sheldon Thompson/Released)

U.S Air Force Tech. Sgt. Chris Barnes, an Aircraft Structural Maintenance (ASM) repairman with the 139th Airlift Wing Maintenance Squadron Missouri Air National Guard, works on fabricating a new throttle quadrant cover for a C-130H Hercules air craft at Rosecrans Air National Guard base in Saint Joseph Mo., on December 9, 2014. ASM repairmen fabricate sheet metal repairs, fix dents and cracks, as well as painting and corrosion control on the aircraft. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by: Senior Airman Sheldon Thompson/Released)

U.S Air Force Tech. Sgt. Chris Barnes, an Aircraft Structural Maintenance (ASM) repairman with the 139th Airlift Wing Maintenance Squadron Missouri Air National Guard, works on fabricating a new throttle quadrant cover for a C-130H Hercules air craft at Rosecrans Air National Guard base in Saint Joseph Mo., on December 9, 2014. ASM repairmen fabricate sheet metal repairs, fix dents and cracks, as well as painting and corrosion control on the aircraft. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by: Senior Airman Sheldon Thompson/Released)

U.S Air Force Tech. Sgt. Chris Barnes, an Aircraft Structural Maintenance (ASM) repairman with the 139th Airlift Wing Maintenance Squadron Missouri Air National Guard, works on fabricating a new throttle quadrant cover for a C-130H Hercules air craft at Rosecrans Air National Guard base in Saint Joseph Mo., on December 9, 2014. ASM repairmen fabricate sheet metal repairs, fix dents and cracks, as well as painting and corrosion control on the aircraft. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by: Senior Airman Sheldon Thompson/Released)

U.S Air Force Tech. Sgt. Chris Barnes, an Aircraft Structural Maintenance (ASM) repairman with the 139th Airlift Wing Maintenance Squadron Missouri Air National Guard, works on fabricating a new throttle quadrant cover for a C-130H Hercules air craft at Rosecrans Air National Guard base in Saint Joseph Mo., on December 9, 2014. ASM repairmen fabricate sheet metal repairs, fix dents and cracks, as well as painting and corrosion control on the aircraft. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by: Senior Airman Sheldon Thompson/Released)

U.S Air Force Tech. Sgt. Chris Barnes, an Aircraft Structural Maintenance (ASM) repairman with the 139th Airlift Wing Maintenance Squadron Missouri Air National Guard, works on fabricating a new throttle quadrant cover for a C-130H Hercules air craft at Rosecrans Air National Guard base in Saint Joseph Mo., on December 9, 2014. ASM repairmen fabricate sheet metal repairs, fix dents and cracks, as well as painting and corrosion control on the aircraft. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by: Senior Airman Sheldon Thompson/Released)

U.S Air Force Tech. Sgt. Chris Barnes, an Aircraft Structural Maintenance (ASM) repairman with the 139th Airlift Wing Maintenance Squadron Missouri Air National Guard, works on fabricating a new throttle quadrant cover for a C-130H Hercules air craft at Rosecrans Air National Guard base in Saint Joseph Mo., on December 9, 2014. ASM repairmen fabricate sheet metal repairs, fix dents and cracks, as well as painting and corrosion control on the aircraft. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by: Senior Airman Sheldon Thompson/Released)

U.S Air Force Tech. Sgt. Chris Barnes, an Aircraft Structural Maintenance (ASM) repairman with the 139th Airlift Wing Maintenance Squadron Missouri Air National Guard, works on fabricating a new throttle quadrant cover for a C-130H Hercules air craft at Rosecrans Air National Guard base in Saint Joseph Mo., on December 9, 2014. ASM repairmen fabricate sheet metal repairs, fix dents and cracks, as well as painting and corrosion control on the aircraft. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by: Senior Airman Sheldon Thompson/Released)

ROSECRANS AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Mo -- 139th Airlift Wing maintainers greeted passersby with noise from tools and the smells of petroleum here early December while working on a C-130H Hercules aircraft.

Aircraft Structural Maintenance is one of the many shops that the busy hanger holds. It's a bay surrounded in tool boxes, heavy breaks, presses, grinders, and other equipment used to fabricate aircraft pieces.

"This is probably one of the best jobs in maintenance," said Staff Sgt. Cameron Blanton. "You learn to make your own parts... you can take what you learn here and apply it to almost any fabrication job. You can learn good techniques and a trade to take along with you in your civilian life."

"I get in my own little zone when I'm working." said Blanton.

Blanton, a full-time technician looks forward to deploying in another contingency overseas.

"Working 12 hour shifts repairing dents cracks and even sometimes battle damage is all part of the job while in-country... it's nonstop exciting work, I love it," said Blanton.

The fabricators also quick-repair cracks, repair fiberglass, sandblast, paint and control corrosion.

"Every day is different," said Tech. Sgt. Chris Barnes as he worked on fabricating and upgrading a new cover for a throttle system. "One day you could be replacing a missing rivet the next day you could be pulling a wing."