MARTINSBURG, W.Va. --
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Robert Duckwall is the aircrew flight equipment superintendent for the 167th Operations Support Squadron and the 167th Airlift Wing Airman Spotlight for December 2021.
Aircrew flight equipment specialists are responsible for ensuring that all flight and safety equipment is in perfect working order. Their attention to detail is imperative to ensure everything from parachutes and survival kits to flight helmets and oxygen masks are in perfect working order.
Duckwall recently returned from a deployment where he served with the 380th Expeditionary Operations Support Squadron. His commander, Lt. Col. Ray Rounds, said that Duckwall had many attributes that he valued but what he valued most was his judgement and his ability to handle things at the lowest level.
“He takes a proactive interest and engagement in the lives of all of our Airmen, which helps to prevent problems before they even arise – because our Airmen know Duck[wall] cares about them both as fellow Airmen and as fellow human beings,” Rounds said.
At home station, Duckwall is an invaluable asset to his squadron, group and wing, said Lt. Col. James Freid-Studlo, 167th Operations Support Squadron Commander.
“Duckwall epitomizes professionalism. He executes his mission in a most excellent manner, never looking for praise or recognition,” said Freid-Studlo. “He leads from the front, not only supervising Aircrew Flight Equipment, but in volunteering for programs like the wing inspection team.”
Hometown: From Berkeley Springs, live in Spring Mills, W.Va
Job Title: AFE Superintendent
How long have you served in the unit? 18 years in February
How does your job support the 167th’s mission? I oversee our Aircrew Flight Equipment (AFE) section that is responsible for providing all of the lifesaving equipment related to the aircrew, and also for providing the instruction on how to use it. Many of us are trained and certified as Combat and Water Survival instructors, as well as CBRNE training instructors for the Aircrew members. We provide the Aircrew with whatever they may need to overcome any situation or threat that they may face, so that they may always return home.
Civilian job: Full time AGR since 2018/Full time technician since 2008
Education: Bachelor’s Degree with concentration in sociology, CCAF in Aircrew Survival Systems
Hobbies: Playing with my little boy, hunting, lifting weights, wood-working, and researching civil war history.
Goals: I hope to continue to serve my section and our Aircrew well for the rest of my career and leave the career field better when I am finished. Also, to positively impact everyone around me every day. I feel blessed to serve with some of the best folks in the military here at Martinsburg. I would also like to continue working toward becoming the Weapon System Team Chief for Strat Air within the ANG.
I am proudest of: My wife, son, and entire family. Also, being a 3rd generation member of the 167th.
People may be surprised to know this about me: Even though my wife is usually less than impressed about it…I can quote the entire movie of Titanic.
The most exciting thing I've done in the military is: My recent deployment to the Middle East.
One/Some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned throughout my career: Always know that you represent your unit, the wing, the state, and the Guard no matter where you go…so do it well. Always be learning and always be teaching. Know that the only true failure is the one that you don’t learn from.
My advice to the newest Airmen in the Wing: Always be serving others and put them before yourself. Work hard in all that you do. Don’t pass up a free education. Always have your schools and training completed as soon as you can. Don’t ever put yourself in a position where you missed an opportunity because of something you could control.
The best thing about working with my team is: the friendships that we have developed over the years, knowing that we can depend upon one another, and serving together in the finest AFE shop in the AF.