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JBSA Front and Center: 'Be yourself, do your best, be the best'

| Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs | Jan. 13, 2016

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas —

Since she started in the 12th Flying Training Wing Maintenance Directorate at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph 12 years ago, Nicole Goss has worked her way from intern to crew chief.

Goss, a crew chief on the T-6A Texan II aircraft flight line, inspects and clears T-6A aircraft for takeoff.

Goss began working in the maintenance directorate in the summer of 2003 as an intern in the aviation mechanics program at St. Philip’s College in San Antonio. The program allowed her to earn dual credits while she was a student at Churchill High School in San Antonio.

After graduating from high school in 2004, Goss returned to the maintenance directorate in the summer of that year as a full-time maintainer fueling T-38 Talon aircraft. Goss said fueling the aircraft in the summer heat was a hard job, especially since there were no coverings at the time for the aircraft on the flight line.

“I was dragging this 75-pound fuel hose and hooking it on to a belly of a T-38,” Goss said. “You are doing that all day, every day in the sun.”

In 2008, Goss enlisted in the Army and served two tours of duty in Afghanistan as a helicopter engine mechanic.

After her service in the Army ended, Goss returned to JBSA-Randolph in 2013.

As a crew chief, Goss said she has several responsibilities on the flight line. “Our duty on the flight line is launch and recovery, inspection and then anything else that pops up,” she said. “If I have to go tow an airplane, then I have to tow an airplane. If I have light bulbs that are burnt out that I find during the inspection, then I have to change the light bulbs. You have to be qualified on everything and anything and you have to be able to have the astute situational awareness to catch it and not let it go.”

The safety of the pilots and maintenance crew is her most important focus on the flight line, Goss said.

This summer Goss halted the launch of a T-6A when she discovered the aircraft was leaking fuel as it was about ready to takeoff.

“I’m the last person who sees the pilots before they take off,” Goss said.  “It’s my job to inspect and keep everybody safe. If that fuel leak would have gotten worse or if something could have ignited it, it would have been me, the crew and everybody around me that was launching. Safety is number one, number one above everything else.”

Goss said she grew up wanting to become a mechanic because of her father, a salesman for a tool company.

“I have always been around tools,” she said. “I have always been around mechanics.”

Goss starts each workday on the flight line at 6:30 a.m. While her shift typically ends at 2:30 p.m., there are some days Goss works until 10 p.m. on the Transit Alert shift, which maintains aircraft from other installations that are flown into JBSA-Randolph. She also worked on aircraft at the 2015 Joint Base San Antonio Air Show and Open House.

When she is not on the flight line, Goss is teaching pilots basic documentation requirements they need to know after going on their cross country sorties and teaching maintainers how to use electronic tools, including tablets, on the job.

Goss is working on the flight line while also furthering her education. She has two associate degrees in aircraft maintenance from St. Philip’s College and is working towards a master’s degree in aviation maintenance management from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

In addition, Goss is raising a four-year-old son with her husband, Moe, who is also a T-1A Jayhawk flight line crew chief at JBSA-Randolph.

As a woman in the aviation mechanics field, Goss said she has had to prove herself several times during her career. She has advice for those women who are considering a career as an aviation mechanic.

“Be yourself, do your best and be the best,” Goss said. “Don’t let obstacles get in the way.”

David Mireles, 12th Flying Training Wing Maintenance Directorate T-1A and T-6A sortie generation supervisor, has worked with Goss since 2003 and said Goss is both a dedicated and hard worker.

“She gives 100 percent in everything she does,” Mireles said. “She is always the first one out to the flight line and the last one off the flight line. If an aircraft needs to be towed, she volunteers. She is a go getter; she is awesome.”

(Editor's note: Joint Base San Antonio Front and Center is a series of stories highlighting outstanding members of the community while showcasing their impact on the missions that take place at JBSA.)