EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. — With closures everywhere due to COVID-19, the Air Force Armament Museum was no exception. However, the staff took the opportunity to update their facility. Stepping up to help, 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Airmen coordinated with museum staff and volunteered to assist with some of the early stages of the renovation process.
“I knew the Airmen could handle the work, and we knew they needed the help,” said Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Warra, the 33rd AMXS security manager. “Many hands make light work.”
A total of 14 Airmen worked in shifts throughout June. The volunteers included 33rd AMXS crew chiefs, weapons troops, and specialists. The Airmen removed the original paint and cleaned the museum floors before repainting them from aqua green to the Air Force 118 Grey.
The volunteers moved the current displays to prepare the floors for the new paint job. The Airmen used straps or rolling jacks to transport the exhibits and heavier items required the use of a forklift. For one exhibit, in particular, the Airmen worked together to successfully transport the display to the second floor.
“We moved displays such as bombs, missiles, benches, and an ejection seat to different parts of the museum,” said Senior Airman Crystal Romero, a 33rd AMXS support section Airman.
In addition to the work on the floor, the 33rd AMXS sheet metal shop provided metalwork to help improve other aspects of the museum.
This opportunity allowed Airmen to gain more experience in sheet metal operations during a time when there were limited sheet metal tasks. The volunteer work provided Airmen valuable hands-on training and skill maintenance, while they learned more about Air Force history.
“Being able to renovate a historical museum was a chance to attain a purposeful role and learn about history,” said Senior Airman Lee Rosendahl, a 33rd AMXS Airman. “We have a mission to accomplish here. However, it is important to branch out and apply ourselves to other missions in our community.”
In times like this, a sense of camaraderie and support is vital. The Airmen of the 33rd AMXS provided their time and capabilities to contribute to the continued preservation of military history.
“The Air Force Armament Museum represents the long history and lineage of the Air Force, along with the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces,” said Warra. “I remember the awe I felt the first time I walked through one. You feel like you have traveled back in time, and you get a chance to relive the past. This is not only monumental in understanding our roots as Airmen; it gives us a sense of what they went through. It is a special feeling, one I would like to pass on to future generations.”