In July 2020, the U.S. Air Force introduced a newly redesigned course for F-16 Fighting Falcon crew chiefs going through technical training.
After completing technical training at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, F-16 crew chiefs will now bypass Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, New Mexico, and proceed directly to their first duty station to attend Right Time Training.
The 372nd Training Squadron, Detachment 12, plays a critical role in producing combat-ready crew chiefs at Luke AFB by providing RTT training.
RTT “is their on-the-job training for the most part,” said Staff Sgt. Darion Hubbard, 372nd Training Squadron F-16 crew chief instructor. “The purpose is when the airman gets to their unit, after going through RTT, they’re competent enough to do the job on their own.”
The six-week course features intensive, instructor-led hands-on material to familiarize the airmen with location-specific maintenance operations. With a small class-size featuring five students, instructors can offer students a more personal experience, Staff Sgt. Hubbard said.
“I take them to the flightline to get them familiar and comfortable with being around the aircraft,” he said. “We also get hands-on with the jets. By the time my last class graduated, all their uniforms were done for.”
Luke AFB’s first RTT class graduated Oct. 6. A second is in session, with students projected to graduate Wednesday, Dec. 9.
“Now we’re just getting to the meat of what they need to do regarding daily sortie generations,” Staff. Sgt. Hubbard said. “That includes lots of launching out and refueling aircraft, taking oil samples, doing their inspections and proper forms of documentation.”
The new process saves the Air Force money by cutting an additional duty station from the process and allowing the airmen to focus on flightline operations.
In the past, airmen would travel to Holloman AFB after completing technical training at Sheppard AFB, Airmen would travel to Holloman AFB to learn the basics. Airmen now can go directly to their first duty stations.
In its first two iterations, the class has evolved to fit the needs of the students. Staff Sgt. Hubbard said the first class he taught spent two weeks in a classroom and the last four on the flightline. The class he is currently teaching completes one week in the classroom and the last five weeks on the flightline.
“For training we go to the flightline to launch, recover and refuel the jet,” said Airman 1st Class Diego Garcia, 372nd TRS F-16 crew chief. “He just expects us to do our best and if we’re struggling he just wants to see that we’re learning and capable of absorbing information.”
Detachment 12 is the largest training detachment in the Air Force and had a large part in the validation process for the course, Staff Sgt. Hubbard said.
When the airmen finish the new RTT course, they will be proficient in their job and able to hit the ground running at their first duty station.
“We want to ensure we send out quality crew chiefs,” Staff Sgt. Hubbard said. “We want to make sure that they’re ready to operate on the flightline and generate sorties day in and day out.”
Editor’s note: Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder is with the 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs office at Luke Air Force Base.