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Johnny Hernandez

Master Sgt. (Ret.) Johnny Hernandez joined the Air Force as a tactical aircraft maintenance specialist in January 1981. As a maintainer, Hernandez worked on the A-10 Thunderbolt II, the Lockheed U-2 TR-1A, the C-130 Hercules, and the Cessna 337 Skymaster. His biggest challenge began in 1986 when a tumor was discovered in his left ear. It was removed in 1987 with a follow-up surgery in 1989. After the second surgery, Hernandez was informed that he would no longer be able do his job or become a pilot. He overcame the adversity of losing all hearing in his left ear and continued his career as a tactical aircraft maintenance specialist where he went on to become a flying crew chief. After retiring from the Air Force in 2001, Hernandez was hired to be Alaska's Air Force recovery care coordinator. He helps wounded, ill or injured service members transition back to civilian life. “It is a good feeling to be able to give back,” Hernandez said. “Because of what I went through, where there was no information, it makes it so much more important for service members to have help.”