Senior Airman Joshua Chrisman presents a platter of "victory nuggets" for his crew after a successful mission in Southwest Asia on May 11, 2012. Chrisman, a KC-10 Extender boom operator, grew up an Air Force "brat" and knew he wanted to join the Air Force when he was old enough. The two-year Air Force veteran is deployed from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., to the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski)
Senior Airman Joshua Chrisman refuels a KC-10 Extender on its way to support aircraft flying Operation Enduring Freedom missions over Southwest Asia on May 11, 2012. Chrisman, deployed from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., to the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, is a two-year Air Force veteran and Air Force "brat." (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski)
by Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
5/29/2012 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFNS) -- (This feature is part of the "Through Airmen's Eyes" series on AF.mil. These stories and commentaries focus on a single Airman, highlighting their Air Force story.)
There are two things Senior Airman Joshua Chrisman loves: the KC-10 Extender and chicken nuggets.
When the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing boom operator talks to anyone who isn't aircrew, he regales them with trivia and factoids about his beloved KC-10:
"The front landing gear is, like, 20 feet behind the flight deck, so while taxiing, it sometimes looks like we're going to go off the runway."
"All but one of the doors on the aircraft open inward, so while flying, the pressure pushes outward into the frame, making it one of the safest aircraft flying today."
"The boom operator's window is the largest single-pane window of any aircraft in the world."
And when they've completed a mission, he sees it as his duty to prepare "victory nuggets" for the crew.
"Who doesn't love chicken nuggets?" Chrisman shrugged.
Both Chrisman's parents were active-duty Airmen. This gave him the opportunity to see the KC-135 Stratotankers at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., which is one of his favorite childhood memories.
"I knew I wanted to be in the Air Force and I absolutely wanted to be aircrew," Chrisman said. "I really enjoy traveling around and being a boom operator. I stay pretty busy."
Chrisman is deployed from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. As a boom operator, his job is to connect the KC-10 to any Air Force, Navy, Marine or coalition aircraft that needs refueling. By refueling jets in the air, pilots don't have to return to base, keeping them airborne to provide anything from cargo delivery to close air support for troops on the ground.
"My job helps other people do their jobs," Chrisman explained. "People on the ground depend on fighters and cargo planes. It's our tankers that get them there."
The passion Chrisman shows for his job and the Air Force will take him far in his career, said Capt. Derrick McClain, the assistant director of operations for the 908th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, .
"He's intelligent, funny and hardworking," said McClain, who is also deployed from McGuire. "He's a future chief master sergeant, there's no doubt. He's got the initiative and the drive you don't see in every Airman. He and his crew are the backbone of our squadron."
Chrisman returns home to New Jersey this summer. His plan is to work on his sports car and travel. In the meantime, he stays busy, flying a mission "every other day or so." But he wouldn't have it any other way.
"The KC-10 is an amazing aircraft and there aren't many planes that can do all the things it can; it carries cargo, troops and refuels other planes, so it's versatile," Chrisman said. "My favorite part of the job is knowing we're making a difference. We'll refuel a fighter soon after it takes off and it's armed to the teeth; later we'll refuel the same plane on its way back to base, but all its weapons have been used. That fighter helped folks on the ground and we helped keep them in the fight. That's what keeps me going."
6/5/2012 3:43:07 PM ET Good work SrA Chrisman. Looking forward to seeing you back home.
Good Friend, JBMDL
5/31/2012 7:51:59 AM ET Well done SrA Chrisman. It sounds like you're off to a great start of a hugely successful Air Force career. Keep up the good work and thanks as always for the gas.