Over the years, more than a few Air Force pilots have imagined themselves in the cockpit of an X-wing fighter.
But this December, it's the maintainers who will see one of their own square off against the Dark Side.
Actress Kelly Marie Tran will play a new character called Rose in "The Last Jedi," the eighth episode in the Star Wars film series, it was announced Friday at the Star Wars Celebration convention in Orlando, Florida.
"She's part of the Resistance, and she works in maintenance," Tran said, according to Entertainment Weekly. "I can't wait for you to meet her."
Few other details were given about Rose's character, which — given the secrecy that surrounds these movies — was not too surprising. But the panel displayed a photograph of Tran in costume as Rose, and the thick olive jumpsuit-type costume she wore does look like the kind of outfit one would wear when turning wrenches on X-wings.
Air Force officials have often used tongue-in-cheek Star Wars parallels to discuss air power. For example, in 2015 former Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh predicted the Air Force will continue to draw new recruits because "they want to fly the F-22, the F-35, the X-wing fighter."
And in 2015, the 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base in Florida filmed their own parody of the teaser trailer for "The Force Awakens."
Maintenance problems have plagued the Star Wars universe for years, most notably in "The Empire Strikes Back," when a large portion of the plot turned on Han Solo and Chewbacca's inability to get the Millennium Falcon to work properly. Perhaps — especially as the Air Force works to rebuild its own maintenance ranks — it's about time these movies paid some attention to the important work crew chiefs and other maintainers do.
It's not too hard to imagine maintainers reacting this way when they hear the news:
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter at Defense News. He previously reported for Military.com, covering the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare. Before that, he covered U.S. Air Force leadership, personnel and operations for Air Force Times.
“In the last 60 years, we’ve really focuses on isolated individuals,” but during large-scale maneuver warfare, units can become isolated just “by battlefield geometry," the Army's SERE school commander said.