REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (Oct. 19, 2021) – Tyronese Jackson is no stranger to telework, but admittedly her assignment in Hawaii might be a little more scenic than most remote work.
Jackson is a liaison engineer for the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center’s Maintenance Airworthiness Engineering Division, located in Corpus Christi, Texas. While her duty station is in the land of Aloha with the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, part of her job also necessitated deploying to Afghanistan in 2020.
“I did almost the same thing that I do here, just a lot more fast-paced,” Jackson said of her time in theater. “Because they are in the thick of it. If a helicopter is down and you are in the thick of war, you know that is the main priority to get it back up and flying so they can complete their mission.”
Jackson took it in stride, as the deployment gave her the opportunity to do what she loves – hands-on engineering. She learned early in her career that given the choice between working in a cubicle and on the flight line – she will choose the flight line every time.
“Ms. Jackson is a very hands on liaison engineer who works constantly to maintain the excellent relationships she has developed with her Army aviation customer,” said Clarence Hitchings, chief of the Liaison Engineering Branch for the Maintenance Airworthiness Engineering Division in the Systems Readiness Directorate. “She has the drive and initiative to get to the bottom of an issue and provide a workable engineering resolution.”
Jackson is a Birmingham native, and at the age of 17, joined the Alabama National Guard as an aircraft structural repairer, which is where she first received her introduction to Army aviation. After receiving her degree from Alabama A&M University, Jackson went to work for a small engineering firm as a liaison engineer, where she realized that she loved hands-on problem solving. A job switch to DEVCOM AvMC and a desk job further cemented that she was meant to be a liaison engineer. So when the opportunity in Hawaii opened up, Jackson was quick to take it.
“I like to climb on the helicopters, although I get scared when I am up there,” she said. “I like to be in the shop with the mechanics. I love the days where it is action-packed, jam-packed -- I am just running, out of breath and never get the chance to sit at my desk.”
Jackson also maintains aircraft at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, with the 25th CAB and the 16th CAB, in addition to aircraft at Wheeler Army Airfield in Hawaii.
“I tell people that my job is keeping helicopters flying safely while trying to save the Army money,” Jackson said with a laugh.
There isn’t much of a downside to living in Hawaii other than the cost of living. When the Alabama native arrived, the price of a gallon of milk gave her sticker shock, she said. But the proximity to the ocean, beautiful hiking vistas and year-round warm weather makes up for it.
Jackson is lucky to be doing exactly what she wants to do in one of the most beautiful spots in the world. She has just a few words of advice for the next generation of engineers -- especially the liaison engineers.
“It’s one thing to see a drawing or an analysis of a part, it’s another thing to see the part on a helicopter moving and knowing exactly what it is doing – and putting it together with what you learned from a book,” she said. “Be as hands-on as possible, hang out with the aircraft mechanics because they have tons and tons of information, most of them have been aircraft mechanics for 20 years or more. Nine times out of 10, if something comes up, they have seen it.
“Listen to the people with more experience, have an open mind about what you learned in that book. Because it might be a little different in the field.”
The DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the Army’s research and development focal point for advanced technology in aviation and missile systems. It is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command. AvMC is responsible for delivering collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions, as required by the Army’s strategic priorities and support to its Cross-Functional Teams.