Alex McGill

My story with Martin-Baker actually started over 40 years ago as a maintainer in 1977. I was a brand new graduate of the US Air Force Egress tech school at Canute AFB, Illinois. The USAF assigned me to my first base with the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing, Bergstrom AFB, Texas to work on the RF-4C Phantom II. This assignment and on event during this assignment would shape my future career to where I’m at today. I was sent to a specific school to learn about the MK-7 Ejection Seat. It was an intense several weeks to learn the maintenance and inspection procedures to ensure pilot’s had their best chance in a critical situation. The MK-7 already had a very successful record in Vietnam saving hundreds of aircrew. After successfully finishing the MK-7 school my on-the-job training and work started assisting with on aircraft and hourly phase inspection. One aircraft was in for a ‘600-hour phase’. This included bringing the ejection seats in for a full inspection scheduled checks on different devices. After my supervisor and I completed the work, we reinstalled the seats into the aircraft. After completing a check flight the aircraft was placed on the schedule for a training flight. It went up late in the evening and ran into an issue. I had gone home and when I arrived back at work the next morning, was told about the loss of the aircraft, but the successful ejection of the pilot and is RSO. It was really the first time through all of my training and experiences I realized how important my career field could effect other lives. The pilot and RSO came to thank the shop for the work on the seats, especially for my supervisor and me. This left a very permanent and positive impression on my career even to this day. I continued to work the MK-7 on F-4Cs, Ds, Es and Gs. Though I’ve worked other seats, the MK-7 was my first and gave me my first career impression. Then, Martin-Baker’s MK-16 seat on the T-6 Texan II, launched my civilian career supporting ejection seats in Wichita, Kansas after retiring from active duty in 1998. I learned installation of all the pyro devices on the seat for installation into the T-6. So Martin-Baker started both phases of my career, military and civilian. My original experience of working on a set of MK-7 seats saving two lives over 40 years ago drives my continued dedication being part of a proud line of ejection seat maintainers that continue to help save lives worldwide.

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