White Rectangle

Hysell, 35, embodied character of a High Roller mechanic

  • Published
  • By By Tech. Sgt. Emerson Marcus
  • 152nd Airlift Wing

Master Sgt. Ryan Hysell, a dedicated family man and 152nd Maintenance Group mechanic with a keen knowledge of the inner-workings of C-130 aircraft, died Monday, October 9.

He was 35.

“When it came to C-130 maintenance, he was one of the smartest guys to ever come out of the 152nd Airlift Wing,” said Master Sgt. Michael Faulkenberry, a fellow 152nd aircraft crew chief.

"Master Sgt. Ryan Hysell's passing this week was a tremendous loss to the maintenance group,” Col. David Manson, 152nd Maintenance Group commander, said. “We all mourn his passing and are dedicating all our efforts to ensure that whatever can be done for his wife, Alana and their three girls, is being done and they are receiving our full support. Ryan's death is also a huge loss to the maintenance group in terms of his outstanding skills on the aircraft and his guaranteed potential to be a senior enlisted leader in this organization in the years ahead.”

Hysell, raised in Bridgeport, California, lived in various locations around the West, his friends said.

He most recently resided in Sparks with his wife, Alana, and three daughters, Maggie, 9, Loralei, 7, and Abigail, a newborn.

“When we would go on TDY (temporary duty assignment) and he’d be on his phone with his wife or his children during most of his down time, not because she (Alana) made him do it, but because he wanted to do it,” said Faulkenberry, who also served with Hysell on multiple Middle East deployments.

Hysell enlisted in 2000. During his 17 years of service, he was awarded two Air Force Achievement Medals, Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal and received eight Nevada Air National Guard Overseas Deployment Ribbons. As recently as last July in northern California, Hysell served as a crew chief for the 152nd Airlift Wing’s first firefighting mission with its own aircraft using the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System, or MAFFS, in support of the U.S. Forest Service.

“Often people in maintenance would say they didn’t know what to do if he wasn’t around, especially on the ISO (isochronal) maintenance docs. He was an expert on those,” Faulkenberry said. “Now that’s a realization we will deal with.”

Hysell was also known as an active participant in the maintenance union, ensuring “everything was fair” and “workers were taken care of,” Faulkenberry said.

Within the last six years, Hysell started Jiu Jitsu, taking multiple classes each week and gaining a purple belt in the martial art. Hysell entered Jiu Jitsu tournaments in Los Angeles and San Diego.

While usually reserved, according to friends, Hysell opened up to people he knew well and rarely avoided ruffling feathers. A self-described Boise State fan, Hysell was known to attend Nevada games in Broncos’ attire, even when Boise State wasn’t playing the Wolf Pack. He liked Jeff Gordon at a time when most of airmen in maintenance liked Dale Earnhardt, Jr. or other racers.

For Hysell, it was all in good fun — jokingly antagonistic, a typical form of camaraderie often found among airmen in aircraft maintenance.

Faulkenberry remembered one time when he gave it back to Hysell, but wasn’t sure if he had pushed the envelope too far.

“A couple years ago, we were golfing in the annual Joe Martini Golf Classic,” Faulkenberry said. “Hysell and I were in the same cart. I was driving. We were cruising down the golf path. I told him I wasn’t going to stop for him to pick up his ball. It was on a downhill slope. As we slowly approached the ball, I sharply turned and dumped him out of the cart. I pretended to drive away. When I looked back, I wasn’t sure if he was going to be pissed or laughing. He was laughing, of course.”