The rating of Aviation Antisubmarine Warfare Technician (AX) was established in 1962. Nearly 30 years later, the AX rating, along with Aviation Fire Control Technician (AQ), merged into the Aviation Electronics Technician (AT).

In broadest terms, Aviation Antisubmarine Warfare Technicians handled in-flight duties crafted to ensure the success of combat, reconnaissance, search-and-rescue, and transport missions. This began with pre-flight inspections of electronics equipment; once underway, the AX worked with communications and detection equipment not only to establish satellite communications with command, but also to jam enemy communications transmissions.

The AX also was responsible for the operation and maintenance of weapons, active and passive defense systems, and refueling systems. They also calculated and double-checked the weight and balance proportions of cargo, passengers, fuel, and special equipment. In the event of an exigency, the AX was tasked with the execution of emergency procedures. Personnel and cargo drops also fell under the bailiwick of the Antisubmarine Aviation Warfare Technician.

Perhaps the best-known former AX was Ken Fischer, who got his start with electronics while in the U.S. Navy. After a stint as a TV and radio repairman, Fischer began building electric guitar and bass amplifiers for Ampeg, but left the company when it was purchased by Magnavox. Using the foundation in electronics the Navy had provided him while he served as an AX, Fischer established Trainwreck Circuits and began building a line of highly praised custom amplifiers, garnering clients such as Mark Knopfler and Brad Paisley. Instead of model numbers, Fischer christened each amp with a woman’s name (“Kaylene” was the last one he built). With his passing in 2006, the price of his amps has soared, and now frequently are sold for more than $25,000 each.

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