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College has new aviation tech director

Aviation director

Anthony Kruckeberg is the new LCC aviation technology director. He is shown at the LCC Aviation Center in Mason.  Photo by Mallory Stiles

Mallory Stiles

By Mallory Stiles
Editor in Chief

When someone feels like they are doing something they love, the best results usually follow.

LCC’s new Aviation Technology Director Anthony Kruckeberg not only loves every facet of his job, but he understands all the responsibility that comes with working on planes.

“Fixing an airplane is a lot like surgery,” he said. “You make a mistake and people die.”

He has two aviation-related licenses from the Federal Aviation Administration, two history-related bachelor’s degrees from Michigan State University and a military career that he said is the real reason he is in his current job.

“I spent 25 years in the Army so I was taking classes on all my deployments, just anything I could get,” Kruckeberg said. “I had no real direction because when you are on deployment, you just take whatever is available from whatever college is there.”

Kruckeberg enlisted at 17 on a “whim.” He said he remembers turning 18 in Korea, but it was just the beginning of his travels. He said each new adventure changed him for the better.

“I’ve been to 58 countries,” Kruckeberg said. “I thought maybe I could be a history teacher so I could share the places I have seen, cultures I have lived in, and talk to kids about relevant stuff that’s not out of a book.”

Teaching history didn’t exactly work out as he planned, but his degrees got him his current position.

“I used to run all the aviation maintenance for the State of Michigan in the Army,” Kruckeberg said. “All of my experience just worked together to get me here. I really had my heart set on teaching full-time this year, but as long as I can interact with the students here, I will be OK.”

Though Kruckeberg is willing to be thankful for what his military career gave him, there is still much to be said about how much he went through defending his country.

“The scariest day of my life was May 4, 2011,” Kruckeberg said. “Two days after (Osama) bin Laden got killed, we were over in Iraq and our living area got mortared by over 110 mortars at 4:30 in the morning. Over 100 insurgents jumped over the walls and we were in a fire-fight for about five and half hours. I had my boxer shorts and my weapons, that was all.

“I am lucky to be here; very lucky.”

LCC Laboratory Assistant David Argo said his co-worker is an exceptional person all around, and said this isn’t the first job they have worked together.

“We don’t just teach together,” Argo said. “We were in the Army together; we deployed together.”

Argo said they are like brothers, and he knows without a doubt that Kruckeberg is the right man for his new job.

“He is a good teacher because he is a people person,” Argo said. “He is passionate about what he does and he knows this stuff. He was a maintainer for 10 years before he became a pilot, so he knows this side of it, intimately.”

Kruckeberg is also president of five different organizations, coaches teams and mentors fellow veterans on the side. He said he hates down time, but said there is a good reason for that.

“I don’t relax; I stay busy,” Kruckeberg said. “The more I do, the less I think. I had a lot of childhood trauma and assaults so that’s partially what drives me. If I had to do it over again, I wouldn’t skip that part. It propelled me into who I am today.”

He said the other driving forces are his loved ones, including his wife, Carrie. Their love story is the stuff of legends and began in Iraq when they were best friends just flying planes. He describes her as his everything. 

Kruckeberg also has four daughters whom he said he could never live without who have taught him things he would never have learned otherwise. His oldest is 29 and his youngest is 5, so there is simply never a dull moment.

“My wife and I run a tight ship at the house but we fun, we like to travel a lot,” he said. “Our 7-year-old has been to nine countries so far and my 5-year-old has been to seven. We just got back from Italy a few weeks ago.”

He said he sees himself most in the young people who have completely given up, and will stop at nothing to change as many lives as he can before his is over.

“The only reason we are here is because of these kids,” Kruckeberg said. “That’s it. We are not here for the paycheck; we are here for the kids and we need to do everything we can to help them.

“For some of them, teachers are the only parents they will ever have.”

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