Crew chief strengthens team, community bonds

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Connor Rebusmen, 27th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, stands with Senior Master Sgt. Bill Barry, 27th SOAMXS first sergeant, during his Diamond Sharp Award recognition Aug. 14, 2015, at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Rebusmen is an MC-130J crew chief assigned to the 9th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, who spends ample time setting the bar for community involvement within his squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Shelby Kay-Fantozzi)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Connor Rebusmen, 27th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief, stands with Senior Master Sgt. Bill Barry, 27th SOAMXS first sergeant, during his Diamond Sharp Award recognition Aug. 14, 2015, at Cannon Air Force Base, N.M. Rebusmen is an MC-130J crew chief assigned to the 9th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, who spends ample time setting the bar for community involvement within his squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Shelby Kay-Fantozzi)

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- Much is required of the Air Commandos who comprise the 27th Special Operations Wing. In addition to demonstrating excellence in their primary Air Force Specialty Code and a dedication to duty, Airmen are expected to be of upstanding character.

One member of the 27th Special Operations Aircraft Maintenance Squadron has mastered the application of this three-pronged formula. In addition to outstanding performance as an MC-130J crew chief assigned to the 9th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, Senior Airman Connor Rebusmen is also busy setting the bar for community involvement.

The Florida native joined the Air Force in 2011 and has spent the past four years at Cannon Air Force Base overseeing, servicing, maintaining, inspecting and conducting launch and recovery operations for a variety of aircraft. A personal connection to life on the flight line jumpstarted Rebusmen’s military career and set him on his current path.

“While I was in school, joining the Air Force never crossed my mind,” Rebusmen said. “But after visiting my godfather at Ouffut Air Force Base, Nebraska, and looking at a plane undergoing depot-level maintenance, I knew that I wanted to join the Air Force and do that.”

Shortly thereafter, Rebusmen traveled to basic training with a guaranteed job.

“I wanted to be a crew chief because of the pride that comes with being able to call a plane yours and have your name on it,” the senior airman said. “I think that’s about as cool as it gets. Additionally, the respect that comes along with being the go-to guy for system knowledge was something that appealed to me.”

After four years of service and a couple deployments under his belt, Rebusmen’s enthusiasm for his work has not diminished. If anything, the real world application of the skills he learned in training has only fueled his passion.

“I find this job fulfilling,” he said. “Launching a plane out on a support mission with tier one service members who are fighting the fight and knowing that I am the reason that plane was ready to go and make the mission happen is a great feeling. Furthermore, my deployments in 2012 and 2015 opened my eyes to how the operations really work and how our training missions at home translate to the fight.”

When Rebusmen isn’t busy ensuring aircraft are ready to go at a moment’s notice, he’s ensuring folks in the community keep physically fit at his CrossFit classes.

“I got into CrossFit [by] watching videos online and mimicking the movements,” Rebusmen said. “Then I met my current boss, and we got to talking about what CrossFit stood for and the impact you could make on your life and the lives of others.

“I began teaching CrossFit in the community because I honestly like to see people improve in an area they were either weak or unskilled in before,” he continued. “If I can teach them well enough to surpass my own skill level and they no longer require my coaching, I’ve succeeded as a teacher.”

Extending his dedication even further, Rebusmen decided to delve into sign language after having a difficult time training a hearing-impaired CrossFit student.

“When an individual with hearing impairment came in to train with his wife one night, I was told to run them through a pipeline type course,” Rebusmen said. “It was an extreme challenge to communicate using a dry erase board throughout the session. At that point, I decided I needed to learn sign language in order for him to get the most out of his training – slowly but surely, I have.”

While many take up residency within a community, fewer take pride in it. Though Rebusmen said his time in the area is likely not permanent, he has taken it upon himself to be a model Airman and neighbor.

“I feel that you should constantly try to better yourself so that you have more to offer to the world,” he said. “When coming to a new place, everyone is hesitant to branch out, but after a while, people come around. I have met so many new and interesting people by simply making an effort. Never stop learning about your job; never stop learning about people; never stop striving to better yourself and your team.”