Tawni Crossan, a current aeronautical student and former marine corps aviation administrative clerk shares her passion for aviation, “While working at three different shops in the aviation field, I was able to learn the administration side very well considering I did not get that I chose in the Marine Corp. I find it interesting…the components of the aircraft, what they do, how they work, and what can be wrong with them.” Tawni is currently attending Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Renton, Washington to pursue her Associate’s degree in Aeronautics so that she can pursue a career at Boeing and work in any of the following departments in the aviation field: maintenance control, production control, or logs and records.
Tawni, who was in the Marine Corp for 3.5 years, shared what one of her job duties entailed within the aviation realm, “Worked at production control at Marine Corp Air Station in Yuma, Arizona in Squadron M.A.L.S.-13 (Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron) which is where most of the bad components of the plane are taken to be repaired. The harrier (fighter jet) that takes off vertically and hovers in all directions…it’s a sweet, sweet jet. O level (organizational level) troubleshoots problems and for problems with the gear on the jet they can’t fix they send through production control to the corresponding work center. Basically, all I do is verify the part number and serial number on the gear with the Maintenance Action Form that’s taken from O level. I check to see if the plane has caps (bottle cap covering an area so no bad debris can get into the broken components of the plane) and check hydraulic equipment to make sure it doesn’t leak and is capped off. I check the E.S.D. (electro static discharge) sensitive components anything electronic…certain gear that can be damaged through physical touch. These components are highly sensitive so we make sure they are protected by certain bags and wrappings, which protects it from ESD. I have to stand on an ESD mat which absorbs electricity and doesn’t ruin the gear from the plane.
I then have to walk over to the computer with the “Maintenance Action Form”. The Maintenance Action Form describes where the piece of gear came from including the work center, what jet it came off of, and explains what’s wrong with the piece of gear. I put details from the Maintenance Action Form into my management information system which sends it to the work center that needs to work on that piece of gear. They’ll see in their mailbox and pick up the piece of gear. Once they are done fixing their gear and it is ready for issue, the part comes back and I do a similar process and screen again. Supply will pick up the gear and put it on their stock pile.”
Tawni was born in Stuttgart, Germany and then was raised in North Berwick, Maine. Nine days after she graduated from high school she went to boot camp in South Carolina for three months and then to North Carolina for marine combat training for 20 days. Tawni attended Marine Corp School for a month in Mississippi, and then was stationed at Marine Air Corp station in Yuma, Arizona for the remainder of her term (three years).
Tawni shared how she met her husband, “I was in M.A.L.S.-13 and Michael (Tawni’s husband) was part of the Marine Attack Squadron-211. Basically, I got attached to Marine Attack Squadron-211 when I went to Oklahoma for an air show in May 2008. I was sent for a vacation there because I did a lot of volunteer work. Michael was at the air show working on the harrier and he was telling people about it. This was at the Air show Oklahoma City at Tinker Air Force Base. I was there for a one week vacation. I enjoyed hotels and free food. Another girl and I were sent there because she also did a lot of volunteer work. Four months later, September 2008 Michael and I married in Yuma, Arizona. In March 20, 2011 I got out of the Marine Corps and Michael got out in April 2011. I moved up here [Covington, Washington] with Michael in April 2011.”
Aside from her aviation career and meeting her husband, Tawni feels her biggest accomplishment was obtaining her Navy Marine Corp achievement award. “In the Marine Corp when I was working in production control, we had a Commander Naval Air Forces inspection…it’s one inspection that happens every year. They come in and check all safety regulations and work procedures to make sure everything is functioning correctly. The worst case scenario is that the squadron can be shut down and nobody can fly. I talked to the Master Chief who asked me all these questions and apparently I did a good job. In the out brief (inspectors go and explain how work centers are doing: what needs to be done to fix production, what needs to be worked on, and what we are doing well) the Master Cheif said I knew my stuff very well and was awarded the Navy Marine Corp achievement award; really nice medal. I obtained it through how well I knew and did my job. I received a certificate with it. March 1, 2010 was when I received the medal and certificate. It’s a bronze square size of half dollar anchor with four stars and a ribbon hanging from it which clips to my uniform. It’s a green and orange ribbon…really cool.”
When asked what motivates her, Tawni replied, “Good commadarie…people that are high spirited and happy definitely motivates me. Work wise people that had my back and are nice, happy, outgoing, and work as a team member are very motivating. Being around good people is motivating to me.”
Tawni discussed her hobbies and interests, “Badminton, I do sports, I like the outdoors, I love to run. I’m so versatile I like everything I can’t pinpoint it (Tawni laughs).” Tawni recently attended the Hollywood Party 2 fundraiser event for the Dance Theatre Northwest and shared what she thought of it, “It was really cool…super fun I definitely really liked the whole idea of the Hollywood theme and dressing up made the cause a fun event to go to. It was nice and it was cool to see the stuff people donated and they sold over the actual value of some items and just all the money going to the dance theater.”
Tawni explained what she likes about running, “It’s the thrill…it’s almost therapeutic for me it helps me calm down from being stressed out and exhausts me while feeling the accomplishment of running which gives me energy…I can’t explain it. It’s so nice. Something I’m good at and can control breathing and manipulate my body and running further and the more I control my breathe the further you can go. It’s great. I also like dirt biking.”
Three words Tawni used to describe herself, “Friendly because I can talk to anything and everybody, honorable I’m very trustworthy, and athletic.” She shared what many people may not know about her, “I’m very artistic and like to draw and do photography. I’m a tomboy but a girlie girl. Tomboy because I was in the Marine Corp and was in boot camp where you got scraped up, dirty and had gone through many physical activities. I don’t mind getting dirty, but can clean up pretty well, too. Girlie because I wear dresses, wear my hair down, do make up and perfume, and I like girly stuff.”
Tawni also enjoys action movies, including older action movies such as: Bruce Willis’ Die Hard series and Mel Gibson movies. She listens to various types of music including a lot of rock and alternative, metal, and hip hop. One of her favorite bands is the Five Finger Death Punch. In her free time she also likes to drive around to try and find new places to go.
By: Carly Calabrese, staff for Tacoma.com