Warfield Air National Guard Base, Md. --
Meet U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Terence Bowe, a fuels craftsman assigned to the 175th Mission Support Group, Maryland Air National Guard. Bowe graduated from the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore in 2013 and joined the Maryland Air Guard as an aircraft fuels systems specialist assigned to the 175th Maintenance Group, before transferring over to the 175th Mission Support Group.
During an initial visit to Warfield Air National Guard Base in Middle River, Md., Bowe was drawn to the aircraft fuels systems career field because they are mechanics and work with their hands.
“When I toured the facilities in fuels I saw the lab and I felt like it was geared towards being a scientist and at the time I didn’t want to do that,” explained Bowe. “While I was touring the maintenance group and speaking with individuals there, most of the work is done on the [flight] line and they are mechanics and I really enjoy working with my hands so that is what I chose to do.”
After one year working as an aircraft fuels systems specialist, Bowe made the decision to transfer to the 175th MSG as a fuels craftsman, which allowed him to secure a full-time position at the 175th Wing.
“My wife and I were expecting a child so I started looking for full-time opportunities to provide security for my family,” said Bowe. “When I started looking for opportunities, a position in POL was open so I ended up here. It always seems ironic to me that the two positions that I originally looked into I have been able to experience both.”
When asked about the responsibilities of a fuels craftsman, Bowe stated that the job entails a lot more than most people see.
“A lot of people speculate that all we do is pump gas into planes and that is far from the truth,” expressed Bowe. “There are four components here, you have fuel distribution, cryogenics maintenance, fuel accounting, and fuel quality assurance.”
All of these components are essential to ensure mission success. From the fuel distribution component receiving fuel, the cryogenics maintenance component receiving and storing liquid oxygen used by the pilots when conducting missions, the fuel accounting component working with outside agency partners, or the fuel quality assurance component running tests to ensure that the fuel received is suitable for use at the base.
“Our mission is extremely important because we are a flying unit and without fuel the mission cannot happen,” said Bowe. “Knowing that we play a very important part in keeping the wing and the mission going motivates me on a daily basis.”
Bowe, when speaking about the benefits of a career in fuels stated, “the great thing about the fuels career field is when we go to technical school we learn how to be fuel distribution workers and we can fuel any aircraft. We are not aircraft specific so if you work at the MDANG as a traditional guardsman and they need someone to go to Qatar or Ghana you qualify because we are not aircraft specific. We can go anywhere and are more marketable because of all the skills we learn in this career field.”
Before joining the Maryland Air National Guard, Bowe grew up in a military family. His father was in the U.S. Air Force and instilled in him his work ethic and attention to detail from a young age.
“My father was the provider in the family and worked two or three jobs so we could play sports and do things as a family,” said Bowe. “That is where I got my passion and drive from, seeing the example he set for our family and how hard he worked to make a better life for us.”
In the future, Bowe says that he hopes to one day become an officer where he can continue leading and training the men and women of the Maryland Air National Guard for the remainder of his career.