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Linebacker of the Week: A1C Vanessa Kernan

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  • By U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Kaitlyn Preston

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Vanessa Kernan, an aerospace ground equipment journeyman with the 36th Maintenance Group, was recognized as the 36th Wing’s Team Andersen Linebacker of the Week, at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, March 2, 2022.

The Team Andersen Linebacker of the Week recognizes outstanding enlisted, officer, civilian and total force personnel who have had an impact on achieving Team Andersen’s Mission, Vision and Priorities.

Kernan has used her knowledge every day to perform maintenance for 423 aerospace ground equipment assets at Andersen AFB valued at $13.2 million. In addition, Kernan researches parts, verifies support equipment serviceability statuses and tracks man hour usage while ensuring guidelines are followed.

“Aerospace ground equipment is not a daring or bold job,” said Kernan. “But I think that our turbines, nitrogen generators and air compressors are incredible accomplishments of engineering.”

Upon completion of her skill level upgrade training within her career field, Kernan began to apply her new-found expertise in her day-to-day duties. She has instructed international partners with the Royal Australian Air Force and Republic of Singapore Air Force on proper operation of self-generating nitrogen carts. Each of these carts contain a hydraulic compressor that filters out everything but nitrogen in the air. This nitrogen is then used for maintenance tasks like tire servicing.

Within her unit, Kernan aids her peers as the only female physical training leader for around two years. She took on this role upon her arrival to the island and has conducted 32 physical training evaluations in that time.

“Her outstanding work ethic didn’t stop with her primary duties,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Samuel Salazar, an aerospace ground equipment craftsman with the 36th MXG. “She is an excellent example for her peers and leadership.”

Kernan has contributed to the success of multiple exercises at Andersen AFB. During exercise Sea Dragon 2022, she aided a Navy helicopter activity with an on-the-spot repair of a compressor.

Amid exercise Cope North 2021 Kernan acted as one of the main delivery drivers for aircraft in need of equipment, handing off over 3,600 assets. These deliveries ensured the proper maintenance, repair and upkeep of a variety of aircraft on the flight line.

“The Air Force has dramatically changed my life for the better,” said Kernan. “Nothing is perfect, and there is still a lot of work I need to do to become the person I want to be, but enlisting has made a major positive impact on my self-confidence. “

The term Linebacker is rooted deep within Team Andersen’s history. Operation Linebacker II took place on Dec. 18, 1972, and was the largest number of heavy bomber strikes launched by the U.S. Air Force since the end of World War II. During the operation, B-52s from Andersen flew round-the-clock bombing missions over North Vietnam to destroy major targets in Hanoi and Haiphong in an effort to bring the Democratic Republic of Vietnam back to negotiations.

The recipient will have the opportunity to sign a “Linebacker” football jersey that will be displayed in the Wing Headquarters building.

Good work, Airman Kernan!

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