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Ponce Mattern receives recognition from FAA

THE U.S. Department of Transportation-Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday recognized Leon Lawrence “Ponce” Mattern for over 50 years of service in the aviation maintenance industry.

Mattern, 68, received the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award for his dedicated service, technical expertise, professionalism and outstanding maintenance contributions to further the cause of aviation safety.

In an interview, Mattern said he has 20 years experience in the U.S. Air Force. “Then I transitioned into the civilian community after I retired.”

Mattern is currently the vice president of technical operations for Pacific Airport Services.

“It means a lot,” Mattern said of the award. “I am very appreciative of what the FAA presented to me. I have been doing this same kind of thing for 50 years. It has taken me throughout the world. I have numerous friends all around the world.”

Leon Lawrence “Ponce” Mattern receives the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award for over 50 years of service in the aviation industry.  In photo, from left, Pacific Airport Services Inc. president Robert B. Hudkins, Federal Aviation Administration safety team manager Scott Allen, PAS aircraft mechanic Rene Prats, Percy Mattern, PAS vice president and awardee Leon Lawrence “Ponce” Mattern, and Commonwealth Ports Authority-airport deputy director Edward B. Mendiola.  Contributed photoLeon Lawrence “Ponce” Mattern receives the Charles Taylor Master Mechanic Award for over 50 years of service in the aviation industry. In photo, from left, Pacific Airport Services Inc. president Robert B. Hudkins, Federal Aviation Administration safety team manager Scott Allen, PAS aircraft mechanic Rene Prats, Percy Mattern, PAS vice president and awardee Leon Lawrence “Ponce” Mattern, and Commonwealth Ports Authority-airport deputy director Edward B. Mendiola. Contributed photo

In accepting the award, Mattern also honored three people who helped him shape his career in the aviation.

“Mr. Frank Dominguez was my trainer in the military. We remained friends up to this day. Mr. Simon Cruz, who passed away a while back, was my supervisor in the Air Force. He taught the safety and making sure I knew what I was doing and that the things were correct before releasing an airplane to be able to fly. Mr. Murray Barrett pushed me on the management side of things and ‘forced’ me into learning other aspects of the airlines so I could relate to all different departments.”

In his 50 years in service, he said part of his job is to educate younger employees and promote the careers of the younger generation.

A couple of years ago, he had the opportunity to educate Marianas High School students who visited the airport.

When he went to his hometown in North Dakota, he ran into one of the MHS students who visited the airport. “He was very grateful for what I had done to them. Those are some of the things I enjoy most when I can take young kids out and show them the different things that they are capable of doing.”

He encouraged young people to consider a career in aviation. “It is a great place to be. Aviation is going to continue to grow.”