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40 years and more: A man’s dedicated service to the Air Force

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Sophia Robello
  • 7th Bomb Wing Public Affairs

The year is 1977: The first Apple II computers went on sale, President Jimmy Carter was sworn in as the 39th president and a young Phillip Hermes would begin his long career of U.S. Air Force service.

Phillip Hermes is currently a weapons system specialist within the 7th Maintenance Group Air Force Engineering Technical Services program, or AFETS. With over four decades of experience, he has served with the B-1B Lancers at Dyess Air Force Base since his arrival in 1985.

Born in February of 1958 in Gladwin, Michigan, Hermes’ passion for fixing things began at a young age thanks to his father’s influence, repairing things from bicycles to televisions and radios. He learned about the close of the conflict in Vietnam by listening to the news on the radios he fixed. After his high school graduation in 1977, he and a few of his classmates enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. He began his career working on the B-52G Stratofortress at Grand Forks Air Force Base, North Dakota.

“The aircraft had just come back from depot with the Offensive Avionics System and the Air Launched Cruise Missile system integration,” said Hermes. “With a new system installed, many of the technical orders were preliminary books. After arriving I started reading the weapons system books and the theory of operation, looking at the simple schematics and wiring diagrams, and then reading up on other books needed to support the weapons.”

Hermes utilized this information to draft technical orders for the new systems, which eventually led to a friend asking him to assist with the B-1 at Dyess in 1985. There, he worked on the B-1 and fixed errors in their own technical orders until his retirement from active duty in November of 1997. He spent over three years working in downtown Abilene until he was offered a job in the Dyess AFETS program.

Within the AFETS program, Hermes helps flight line personnel in resolving issues with testers and equipment. He shows people how to use and fix test equipment, locate technical orders and find parts that are no longer in the supply system. Additionally, he gives classes on subsystem operation, troubleshooting wiring problems and repairing broken equipment.

Master Sgt. Christopher Lee, 7th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron crew chief section chief, mentions how Hermes is deeply dedicated to his job and to his team. With over 20 years in the AFETS program and 40 years in the Air Force, he is recognized by his peers as a wealth of knowledge and reliable support.

“Mr. Hermes plays a huge part not only in the B-1 community, but the Air Force community,” said Lee. “He’s provided multiple generations of Airmen with mentorship and training, increasing their skill set as aircraft maintainers. He is a great example how to not quit when you can’t find a solution: keep going until all resources are exhausted, when that has happened, create the solution so others in the future will have a better way forward.”