You have never been in the military unless you have heard the words, “hurry up and wait.” After hearing these words countless of times, there is only one man that stands out in my memory. My most memorable sponsor is Technical Sergeant Arthur Boss. Yes, his last name is Boss, and he lived up to the name. Let me tell you a little bit about the man. Boss is the most straight-forward, comical and intelligent old man that I have ever met. If you are wondering about his appearance, he looks just like the father from ‘Honey, I shrunk the kids.’ His jokes were dry and cheesy, but luckily my sense of humor is as dry as nachos smothered in cheese. I will never how sergeant Boss taught me how to become both a mechanic and a great airman.
To be a successful aircraft mechanic, you had to know your job. Especially for the aircraft I was trained for. The KC-135 Stratotanker is a military aerial refueling aircraft and it has been in service since the 1950s. Unlike many of the other enlisted members in my career field, I was not mechanically inclined. Although my father is a mechanic, I never grew up with the skills of a mechanic. When I first began my job as a hydraulic mechanic, I would look at an aircraft schematic and get completely lost.
During the first few months at my first duty station, I was getting hazed because I called a crescent pliers, “turtle pliers.” I can still recall this little incident clearly in my memories. On one hot and humid day, my hydraulic shop was tasked with replacing the nose landing gear. We had a four-man team which consisted of two technical sergeants, one of which is sergeant Boss, one senior airman and myself. As we were disconnecting hydraulic tubes from the landing gear, we found one of the fittings completely stripped. I was asked by the other technical sergeant, sergeant Lusk, to retrieve a wrench from the toolbox. With the little knowledge I had of the tools we had, I took a guess and brought him a pair of crescent pliers. He looked at me with a confused face and he asked me, “Loc do you know what these are?” Although I was nervous because I did not know the correct name for the pliers, I replied, “turtle pliers.” Now everyone laughed as they heard my reply.
For the next few days I was called “turtle” by many of my superiors. Till this day I still smirk with laughter at the memory of my mistake. In my defense, the top of the pliers looks like the mouth of a turtle. After feeling the spit from the laughter of multiple mouths, I decided to choose a mentor, so they can teach me the correct name for those pliers and how to do my job. Sergeant Boss was one of the people who would laugh, but there was never any saliva included. From then, I had followed Sergeant Boss and learned as he taught me the most intricate details about the hydraulic systems in the KC-135. With every new job we got every day, there was a new lesson to learn. I saw how every superior searched for Sergeant Boss when they had a question about our job. I wanted to become a type of mentor that someone can rely on. After a year and a half of working my job, I became confident enough to complete tasks by myself. As soon as new airmen came in, I took them under my wing and taught them what I know. Little did I realize, I became that idol that they could look up to.
As soon as I graduated high school, I joined the air force. You can call it the world’s best air force, but you cannot call it the world’s best teacher at becoming an adult. I was taught how to follow instructions, but there was never any class about completing my taxes or making sure your bills are paid. Oh, but they did teach you about saving the money that you would spend on beer. As a young adult entering the world, I did not have any of those ‘skills.’ I only knew how to have fun. Sooner or later, the cost of food and bills caught up to me. I was known for not having money even though we got paid biweekly. Sergeant Boss noticed how poorly I was ‘adulting.’ After I had chosen him as my mentor, the fun slowly came to a halt. Sergeant Boss has a son with a disability. He told me how he worked for his family and nothing else. During the winter season in 2015, I volunteered to help at a children’s christmas party that my squadron was holding. It was my first time I was sergeant Boss with his family. I oversaw the kids with decorating their cookies. After seeing the smile on his child’s face, it changed my aspect on how I should live my life. My idea of an adult was selfishness and uncaring. Boss had showed me that there was more to be as an adult.
My attempt at showing my sponsor may be different from many writers, but the lesson is still the same. Many young adults live their lives without anyone to rely on and trust. This world is tough without the experience and proper guidance. Without the assistance from Sergeant Boss, I would have never become mechanic or airman I was. I felt a great sense of accomplishment when my brother in arms saw me as one of their own. When the newer airmen would come to me for answers, I felt like I had finally become the mentor I wanted to be. These lessons I learned while I was in the military will never be forgotten. I will always have a sense of appreciation toward the man called Boss.