BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --
Not knowing what to expect, Senior Airman Troy Burns, 2nd Communication Squadron client systems technician, quit his job as a county jail corrections officer and left his hometown of Abilene, Texas to enlist in the Air Force and eventually be stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, 374 miles away from home.
“I joined the Air Force because I stopped enjoying what I was doing and wanted better job security. Also, the chance to go back to school without pilling up student loans,” Burns said.
Today, Burns works at the squadron fixing computers, phones, printers and several other office devices.
“He is one of the first people to interact with customers whose technology is broken,” said Maj. Joseph Hall, 2nd Comm director of operations. “Burns does it with a smile on his face, and he is focused on getting people back in the fight as quickly as possible.”
While Burns spends most of his day supporting the nearly 15,000 personnel on base, he would soon have the opportunity to impact a mission beyond Barksdale.
When Hurricane Michael hit the Florida panhandle, some of the F-35A Lightning IIs from Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, evacuated to Barksdale to avoid the storm.
Before the F-35s could return to Eglin, maintenance needed to be done to their engines.
However, there were software issues preventing maintainers from working on the F-35s.
Eglin personnel used a computer system called Autonomic Logistics Information System (ALIS) which helps maintain, plan and sustain the F-35. The initial ALIS version the Eglin maintainers had would not allow them to connect to the Barksdale network.
“It was particularly worrisome for us because we had jets off station without access to all of our tools and personnel,” said 1st Lt. Patrick Michael, 58th Aircraft Maintenance Unit assistant officer in charge from Eglin.
Burns was informed of the situation and quickly got to work. In a few short hours, he had uploaded the new version of ALIS onto 13 computers, allowing Eglin maintainers to connect to the Barksdale network and fix their aircraft.
With their engines fixed, the F-35s returned home to Eglin, and Burns received a thank you letter from the 33rd Fighter Wing commander.
“Senior Airman Troy Burns and his communications expertise were the keys to ensuring the F-35’s ALIS was up and running within hours,” said Col. Paul Moga, 33rd FW commander.
“It was pretty cool getting to work with people from another base and hearing about their mission,” Burns said with a smile. “Being able to say that I did something to help an F-35 take off and fly is pretty awesome.”
Burns may not be far from home, but his work continues to impact Airmen and their families around the world.