142nd AMXS Airman shares his TDY experience

  • Published
  • By SrA Yuki Klein
  • 142nd Wing/Public Affairs

The Washington and Oregon Air National Guard collaborated with the Thai Royal Air Force for the first time in Enduring Partners 2023. This engagement was a National Guard-sponsored State Partnership Program event aimed at improving combat readiness and combined and joint interoperability between participants while enhancing strong defense relations and the State Partnership Program between the Washington Air National Guard and Thailand.

Senior Airman Ben Rabaud, a fighter aircraft integrated avionics technician with the 142nd Wing, was one of the 230 participating U.S. Airmen involved in this two-week engagement which ran from September 11th through the 23rd.

Rabaud shed some light on the intricacies of his role and his experiences on this Temporary Duty assignment (TDY) at Korat Royal Thai Air Base in Thailand.

"We work on all the computers on the aircraft. Computers are integrated into almost every system of the aircraft, from weapons to navigation to control surfaces," Rabaud explained. 

This vital function means that his team plays a pivotal role in ensuring the aircraft's functionality.

This wasn't Rabaud’s first mission away from home. He deployed to the East Coast of the United States and Puerto Rico last year for Operation Noble Eagle (ONE), but on this mission, he’s found that operating outside the U.S. has its challenges. "It was a lot more structured [at ONE]," he said. “We had a lot more supplies, and since it was in America, we had a lot more support out there versus out here."

To meet these challenges, Rabaud and his team had to think outside the box to find solutions to make sure jets were able to fly safely and efficiently. 

When facing challenges at home and especially on TDYs, the mission doesn’t happen without some collaboration. "We work a lot with other maintenance maintainers like crew chiefs, who are responsible for general maintenance of the aircraft,” explained Rabaud. “If we're troubleshooting an issue with a certain system, we'll work with other shops such as engines or electrical environmental technicians. We also coordinate with supply to get the parts we need, and security forces [to] facilitate our access, so we work with everyone."

Outside of work, Senior Airman Rabaud finds joy in the opportunity to explore new places. "We work a lot, but we have time to explore the area, so it's a great opportunity to travel," he said. "I've never been to Asia, so it's been fun to get out on the town when we're not working."

In spite of the challenges each TDY or deployment brings, Rabaud is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the mission here and to see the world while doing it. "I wanted to join to travel," he stated, "and I'm getting it. I was able to go to Puerto Rico a year ago, and now I'm in Thailand, and we even had some time in Japan. So it's been awesome."