World Traveling Airman calls 134th Avionics Home

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Teri Eicher
  • 134th Air Refueling Wing

Senior Airman James Dilling checked a fair number of items off his bucket list before joining the Air National Guard, including traveling and working overseas. However, years after graduating college, he still hadn’t fulfilled his desire to join the military. Dilling credits numerous family members who had all served as the inspiration for his long-standing desire to enlist.

But when he was ready to sign up, he knew exactly which unit he wanted to join.

    “I was always aware of the 134th Air Refueling Wing, even from high school,” Dilling explained. “I grew up in Knoxville, and coming home seemed like the best choice when my wife wanted to attend nursing school, and I wanted to join the Air National Guard.”

    Originally, Dilling was interested in a position with the fire department or intelligence squadron. However, as with most guardsmen, there were many jobs at the unit he had never realized the Air Force offered. This led to his current position as a communications, navigation, and mission systems Airman with the avionics department of maintenance.

    Now, of course, Dilling is convinced he has the best career in the Air Force. “My favorite part of being an avionics Airman is having the opportunity to troubleshoot issues and use my problem-solving skills in the air or pre-flight to ensure the mission is successful,” Dilling said. The dynamic responsibility for determining the source of an issue and fixing it, sometimes mid-flight, has made a fulfilling career of the four years since his initial enlistment.

    With the mission frequency that the 134th ARW maintains, there are plenty of opportunities for avionics Airmen to travel—they are often asked to join missions of two or more days in case an issue arises with the radios or navigation equipment. Having our own avionics personnel on board ensures the flight crew will be able to troubleshoot issues and get back in the air as quickly as possible.

Even so, Dilling insists the best part of his job isn’t flying. “The missions are cool, and the trips are fun, but my favorite thing about this unit is definitely the people I work with,” Dilling said. “We plan things outside of work throughout the year, even if it’s just a barbecue in the park. Our supervisors do a lot to make sure we always feel like a team.”

    If you’re interested to find out what kind of opportunities the 134th Air Refueling Wing has for you, please call us at 865-336-3242.