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  SSgt. Ray Durrell

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Name SSgt. Ray Durrell
Unit 421st Fighter Squadron "Black Widows"
Crewing F-16s from 2000 until 2004
Contact RMDHV Send me a private message
I enlisted and left for Basic in Feb '00. After 6 weeks I went to Sheppard AFB for my initial F-16 Crew Chief training (intsructor: SSgt Ratliff-Pabon). I graduated from Sheppard on Aug 25 and headed to Luke for HOT training. After a month of details (we arrived the day after a class had started and had to wait for enough people to show up to start a new class) I started my HOT training. Four weeks later I was certified and headed to Utah. After 20 days of leave I reported in to the 421FS/APG A Flight. I was assigned to Aicraft 88-0447 from Oct '00 - early '02. I was then assigned as ADCC to Aircraft 88-501 until Jul '03 when I was made DCC of Aircraft 89-2115. Unfortunately I was only a DCC of "115" until Sep '03. A new SSgt was assigned to the unit and since I was only a SRA without a line number yet, they made him the DCC. In April 2004 the Air Force waved $60K under my nose and I left for retraining to become a "nonner". Unfortunately I have regretted that decision for the past 4 years. My time on the flightline may have been spotted with long hours, bad weather, lots of travel, and many other things, but I hold that time with some of the best memories of my life. I miss the comradarie, and, suprisingly, the work. Every time I see a Viper take off I am filled with pride that I had the opportunity to crew one!

Current or Favourite assignment

The people and the Jets. While we did merger into the 388AMXS from separate FS's while I was at Hill. The pride in our AMU and the division between tail flashes remained. Neither of the other AMU's at Hill (4th and 34th) could hold a candle to us. It seemed that we had the best jets of the lot. However, with the frequency that they broke, I think that it was more that we had a group of people who enjoyed what they did enough to learn their jobs, think outside their scope of work (learn a lot of the back shops jobs as well), and take the extra time to make sure that their work was not just a patch job -- that the true problem was fixed. Then when the work was finished, they made sure that everyone knew and understood what had happened so that the next time it happened, everyone knew how to fix it.

And when the day was over, we didn't all just go our separate ways. Often times we would all go down to Denny's and have something to eat together. We would hang out together on weekends, whether it was to go Snowboarding, or play paintball, or just to go throw back a few beers together, it was not often you saw one of us alone. You dont really get that in any of the other places that I have worked. That is what made the 421st the best!


OIF/OEF April 2003-Sep 2003

My Jets & Assignments

89115 [Detailed history of this F-16]
Unit 421st Fighter Squadron "Black Widows" [Unit History]
Period 2003 - 2004
Current: 89115   USAF 421 FS F-16C Block 40 [ w/o]
88501 [Detailed history of this F-16]
Unit 421st Fighter Squadron "Black Widows" [Unit History]
Period 2002 - 2003
Current: 88501   USAF 309 FS F-16C Block 40 [ act]
88447 [Detailed history of this F-16]
Unit 421st Fighter Squadron "Black Widows" [Unit History]
Period 2000 - 2002
Current: 88447   USAF 16 WS F-16C Block 40 [ act]
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