I am The 908th: Master Sgt. Austin Ford-Umfuhrer

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Juliana Todd
  • 908th Airlift Wing

Master Sgt. Austin Ford-Umfuhrer is a technical maintainer with the 908th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron. As a maintenance tech, Ford is responsible for ensuring optimal functionality of avionic and electronic warfare systems prior to takeoff. 

“I joined the Air Force Reserve for the opportunities, exposure and benefits that it provides,” said Ford. “For instance, I have had more temporary duty assignments and deployments than I did on active duty, and it has really allowed me to broaden my expertise in aviation maintenance.”

Prior to being a technical maintainer, Ford served six years as an active duty electrical and environmental systems specialist, at McChord Air Force Base, Washington. He left in 2018, becoming an E&E specialist with the 908th AMXS.

Although he initially aspired to become a pilot, Ford opted for the enlisted path to gain experience; he found it to be fulfilling and decided to continue in that direction. While he did not become an Air Force pilot, Ford did achieve his pilot's license in 2014 and has been in the air ever since.

“Aviation is my passion and the focal point of my life,” said Ford. “I have touched airplanes 24/7, nearly every day for the past 11 years.” 

In the civilian world, Ford is a Federal Aviation Administration Certified Airframe and Powerplant mechanic and charter pilot. Additionally, he takes on the role of a flight instructor, conducts ferry flights, and operates various general aviation and corporate aircraft. 

“I would say I’m a jack of all trades because of my ability to fly, maintain, and troubleshoot technical issues across a variety of aircraft.”

When not working, Ford devotes his time to two noteworthy volunteer activities. One being with the Experimental Aircraft Association's Young Eagles program. He introduces kids to the realm of aviation and generously provides 75-100 of them with complimentary airplane rides during rallies held in his hometown of Carrollton, Georgia.

Additionally, he works with the Liberty Foundation, where he repairs and maintains warbirds. Specifically, he works on the Douglas C-47 Skytrain, a prominent World War II aircraft that flew during D-Day and a B-25 Mitchell, which was previously stationed at Maxwell Air Force Base.

Thanks to Ford's wide-ranging expertise, he offers a valuable wealth of knowledge to anyone willing to listen.

Ford shared, "The reason I remain committed to the 908th is the meaningful connections and friendships I've developed so far. While I've considered the prospect of relocating to other bases, it's truly the sense of camaraderie that keeps me rooted here. I enjoy sharing my perspective and assisting others in developing their skills."

Ford embodies a transformational servant leader, and consistently goes the extra mile to put service before self. He upholds the standards of the 908th AW, which is why he was recognized as the wing’s Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Quarter for the 2nd Quarter of 2023.