by SrA Maeson Elleman

A U.S. Air Force crew chief from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson's 525th Aircraft Maintenance Unit signals Capt. Brad Roberts, 525th Fighter Squadron F-22 pilot, to prepare to taxi onto Kadena's flight line, March 31, 2011. During their stay with the 18th Wing, the group of F-22 Raptors, their pilots and maintainers from JBER worked hand-in-hand with Kadena's Airmen and aircraft from numerous squadrons on the base and also with the Marines and their aircraft from the Marine Corps bases on-island, to train and build a greater Pacific presence. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Maeson L. Elleman/Released)

Photographer's Narrative


Before I enlisted in the Air Force, all I wanted to do was fly fighter jets. During the Military Entrance Processing Station process, I was told I was colorblind. Instead of becoming a fighter pilot, I enlisted as a Public Affairs Specialist. My first assignment was to Kadena Air Base on Okinawa, Japan. While assigned here, F-22 Raptors from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, deployed for a short while to the island, and I had the opportunity to take photos of this premiere aircraft. This photo showcases an Airman giving the ‘go-ahead’ to the pilot, telling him it’s time to get to work. Though I’ll never be allowed to fly, being a PA allows me to work closely with all the aircraft and watch what it takes to put one in the sky.