Crew Chief Profiles

 SrA. Shannon "Turbo" Toerpe

My profile

Name SrA. Shannon Toerpe
Unit 308th Fighter Squadron "Emerald Knights"
Crewing F-16s from 1994 until 2002
Contact tinedanzer Send me a private message
My recruiter tried to talk me out of being a crew chief, but I refused to sign anything unless I was guaranteed this job. I loved it, I wish I could go back and do it again! I'd do it right this time! People called me "turbo" because my mouth would run as fast as my work should have been! Ha! Ha! I gave it up to be a mom (yeah, that's right, I'm a chic!) and I wouldn't trade that for the world, but I still miss being a crew chief. I had a bad luck streak that always followed me from base to base. Everytime I PCS'd, my new squadron dropped one out of the sky.

Current or Favourite assignment

A funny twist of fate; my class was the only one that never had any training after tech school. We all went straight to our first assignments never having been around a running aircraft, not to mention no training on launch and recovery! My second base landed me right smack in the squadron I would have trained in after tech school if it hadn't been for a glich in the personnel system and Shephard. I used to get the biggest kick at how the cockiest trainees that launched my bird were always the ones to walk into the exhaust! I used to make bets with the instructors on who would be the one to do it! Man those guys were babied! I remember an entire class was washed back TWICE, and I could not comprehend how they did that! My only training was, "This is your jet, here's your tool box, your pilot's getting out of the van now, we'll be back to get you for lunch--maybe."


I only had one TDY, but if you can only get one in a career, I guess this would be the one to get. We went to Tyndall AFB for two weeks. It was during Spring Break; MTV was there and all the college kids. I was on night shift and only worked a couple hours a day. I rented a car and all my buds (and my roomie of course) went clubin'. The pilots were enjoying it too. They kept bounce checking our planes. We swore they were doing it to try to keep us out of the clubs! Ha! Ha!

My Jets & Assignments

86046 [Detailed history of this F-16]
Unit 35th Fighter Squadron "Pantons" [Unit History]
Period 1994 - 1996
Current: 86046   F-16D Block 30 [act]
One pilot taking off another landing, all in the fog. They didn't see each other till it was too late. The pilot landing punched out and lived. Much to "Killer" Kelly's chagrin, we dubbed this jet the Brake Break Queen. There seemed to be no end to the brake problem on this jet. But it always looked good! Killer used to get so mad when the engine was pulled because he never got the same one back and all three of us were out there polishing the turkey feathers! I was assigned to this jet, the 7th Air Force Vice Commanders jet, because it "looked good" to have a woman on it. Everyone resented that, even me. I spent 2 years in there. The second year I worked in Phase. I liked it, but I missed the unpredictability of the line.
91464 [Detailed history of this F-16]
Unit 308th Fighter Squadron "Emerald Knights" [Unit History]
Period 1996 - 1998
Current: 91464  USAF 416 FLTS F-16D Block 50 [act]
The day I walked into my new flight's office, a crew chief getting an incentive flight got the "full ride." Egress op's check good, all survived but the jet! Some poor overzealous newby (I always felt bad for this guy) had taken to topping off his jet's oil tank every night. No small wonder, the number 5 oil seal or bearing (I forget which it was exactly) slipped in the engine. When the jet landed after the first sortie, I was crewing my own bird a few spots down. I saw the smoke and thought little of it since there were people all over that bird. Un beknownst to me, all those people thought little of it too! So after the second sortie, the expediter asked me to recover that jet. I was suprised that it had flown again, but I thought perhaps it had been fixed that quickly (yeah, right!). Sure enough, that jet smoked like a lit cigar right after shut down!
Unit 14th Fighter Squadron "Samurais" [History]
Period 1998 - 2001
Alot happened at this base, most of it bad. I rarely worked the line, but I was always trying to get out there. The first week I was there (as seemed to be a tradition for me) we dropped a bird at EOR. He was a brand new pilot, just out of training. He aparently blacked out when he punched, and his chute drifted him back into the flaming wreckage of the plane. A Japanese National was doing laps at the time and ran over to pull him out. The pilot died a few weeks later. The accident was declared pilot error. I helped tow that jet back to the line the day before, and I was standing at the other end of the runway watching as it slammed into the ground. We lost alot of jets while I was there. I didn't learn much at this base, although I should have. The best thing that ever happened to me happened here: my wonderful husband!
Unit 57 th AMXS
Period 2001 - 2002
Who can forget 9/11! I was 4 1/2 months pregnant and so sick I had to be medicated. Needless to say, I crewed a desk at this base. I actually thought I would escape the whole planes crashing when I PCS thing... I'll never forget the terror on those pilot's faces. They had to scramble to shoot down (possibly) an airliner with 5 or so hijackers and 200 some odd Americans that we are supposed to be protecting. There were no more "bad guys" as the pilots always called their targets. The horror overwhelmed some of them and they had to be carried off the line after their (thankfully!) uneventful sorties. That day is forever etched in my mind.

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