For Lance Cpl. Charles Schneider, going through school to become a crew master in the Marine Corps was a long yet rewarding task.
“I’ve always been pretty mechanically inclined.” said Schneider. “I wanted to try something that very few people take advantage of. I’ve always loved airplanes, so I figured it would be really cool to work on them in the Marine Corps.”
Schneider previously worked as a mechanic with Trans States Airlines, earning his Airframe and/or Power Plant mechanic’s certificate beforehand. Even though his mechanical skills are well-developed, he still wanted to broaden his knowledge of aviation.
“In this job, I work with the pilots through the back of the aircraft to be their eyes and ears,” said Schneider. “But if the plane breaks somewhere along the way, it’s our job to fix it. That’s where my previous knowledge of aviation comes in handy.”
Crew masters not only have to know the aircraft inside-out, but they are trusted to conduct pre-flight inspections, review maintenance forms on the aircraft and ensure that it is ready for flight. This responsibility is nothing new to Schneider, as he has been put into many leadership positions throughout his training in the Marine Corps.
“I’ve been the class leader numerous times for different courses, and I think that’s partly because I’m already used to working on aircraft,” said Schneider. “Now that I’m in the fleet, I’m going to have a ton of responsibility on the aircraft, but I look forward to taking it on. I can’t wait to start flying.”
Several U.S. military veterans Schneider worked with at his previous job influenced him and gave him advice to seize the opportunity to join the armed forces. According to Schneider, there was one individual in particular that gave him a huge push in the direction of the Marine Corps.
“One of the things that made me go through with joining the Marines was the fact that my boss told me I can always come back to my civilian job, and that the window of opportunity was closing in on me,” said Schneider. “I was 22 years old at the time. He said to me ‘America has served you for 22 years; what’s giving up four or five years to serve your country?’”
“So here I am today. This is exactly the job I wanted from the beginning. My parents raised me with good ethics and showed me how to work hard and earn everything for myself. That’s exactly what I plan to do for the next few years.”