Maintenance chief retires after 34 years of service

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Ben Mota
  • 434th ARW Public Affairs

Filling a hangar designed to house a KC-135 Stratotanker, friends and family came together to celebrate the career of an Airman as he donned the uniform for the last time after 34 years of service.

Chief Master Sgt. James Hambruch, 434th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron assistant superintendent, was honored during a retirement ceremony at Grissom Air Reserve Base, Indiana Feb. 8.

Presiding over the ceremony, Col. Larry Shaw, 434th Air Refueling Wing commander, educated the audience with Hambruch’s career starting in 1986 when he joined active duty Air Force.

Following eight years of service, Hambruch left active duty and moved to South Bend, Indiana. He joined the Air Force Reserve at Grissom in 1996.

“Chief Hambruch absolutely loves turning wrenches and turning jets on deployments,” said Shaw. “He will always be remembered as that guy who always gave it his all. We all wish you luck, and thank you for your service.”

Following the commander’s message, Hambruch addressed the crowd thanking all of those in attendance and those who supported him throughout his career.

“I just want to say thank you very much; me making chief was a great achievement but it’s a great reflection of the people here at Grissom,” said Hambruch. “Without your guidance and leadership I would have never made it.”

Hambruch also thanked his civilian employer for supporting him throughout his career.

“I want to give a special thanks to my employer, Eaton Corperation,” said Hambruch who has been employed there for 26 years. “I can only hope your civilian employers are a fraction of supportive as mine has been throughout my career. They gave me time off over and above the required amounts.” 

Hambruch also spoke of time spent deployed with his fellow Airmen. Most recently, he deployed as the night shift superintendent supporting Operation Inherent Resolve by leading a 174-member aircraft maintenance unit. Those efforts enabled the execution of 895 sorties and 4,200 flying hours

While that was his last deployment, Hambruch encouraged others to continue their great work here at Grissom and during upcoming deployments.

“Some of you are getting ready to leave us again for another deployment—God speed,” said Hambruch. “Please keep that torch burning.

“This is a great wing,” he added. “I’ve been around a lot of maintenance groups and this is by far the best group of aircraft maintainers I have ever worked with in my entire career. Please keep up what you are doing and God bless you all.”

The 434th ARW is the largest KC-135R Stratotanker unit in the Air Force Reserve Command. The Citizen Airmen from the Hoosier Wing routinely deploy around the world in support of the Air Force mission.

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