JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. --
Last week the 315th Airlift Wing flew a C-17 and 16 Reservists to Atlanta for a Veterans Day and recruiting event. We were invited to be part of the festivities by Mark Norris, the Coordinator of the event for Delta Airlines.
Delta’s Technical Operations is a massive aircraft maintenance facility located at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. They help maintain, not only Delta’s 900+ aircraft, but contract aircraft and engine maintenance for the U.S. government and airlines from around the world. Our aircraft was pulled into the hangar with numerous other current military and vintage aircraft. The facility covers more than forty acres under one roof and is absolutely enormous.
Our team included Maintenance Squadron and Aircraft Maintenance Squadron members from the 315th, 437th, and crew from the 701th Airlift Squadron, some who are also Delta pilots. We all were given a personal tour of the complex which resembles in many parts much of our own MXS facilities and back shops.
As the team interacted with members in each shop we looked for opportunities to discuss what the 315th has to offer for Delta employees to join our team. That was often met with the Delta members letting us know about their ambitious goal of hiring over 500 new mechanics and 600 pilots in the coming years. Almost every member of the Tech Ops team were seasoned “grey hairs” that boasted of 20, 25, 30, and even 35 years’ service to the company. They currently have the same needs that the Air Force has, which is to continue to find new young people who want to work hard, love the aviation career field, and want to serve their nation. There is no better place to look for future members than each other’s organizations.
In addition to our meetings throughout the Tech Ops organization, there was essentially an indoor airshow for all Delta employees to enjoy. There were the static displays including the C-17. Our team hosted hundreds of onlookers and aviation enthusiast for the two days. Delta recognized their veterans and Gold Star families as well as having two Medal of Honor recipients, Marine Corps retired Maj. Gen. James E. Livingston, and Army retired Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins.
Delta Airlines is a proud supporter of the Guard and Reserve. They currently have over 3,000 members currently serving and 12,000 veterans working there. Delta is an enormously patriotic company. They proudly have their own volunteer employee honor guard (all veterans) and handle all remains coming through Atlanta and do so with honors reminiscent of our own military. For the past 14 years, the Delta Honor Guard has transported over 5,000 remains. After starting in Atlanta, the group has grown to serve in other Delta-based airports, including Minneapolis, Detroit, Michigan, Salt Lake City, Utah, Los Angeles California and Washington, D.C.