LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. --
In July, the 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, Texas, F-16 crew chiefs will now proceed directly to their first duty station to attend Right Time Training with the 372nd Training Squadron, Detachment 12, which saves the Air Force money by cutting additional travel to additional duty stations.
“RTT is their on-the-job training and reduces lost time for inprocessing,” said Staff Sgt. Darion Hubbard, 372nd TRS F-16 crew chief instructor. “That way when the Airman gets to their unit, after going through RTT, they’re ready to do the job on their own. This means less time spent away from doing the job, which keeps them ready and consistent.”
Before RTT, new Airmen went to Holloman AFB for their hands-on training first, then to their permanent duty station where they lost time for inprocessing and specific airframe training. This led to a gap in time doing their new jobs, now within 45 days of inproccessing into their unit they go to RTT then right back to their units, Hubbard said.
The 372nd TRS, Det. 12, plays a critical role in producing combat ready crew chiefs at Luke AFB.
The six-week course features intensive instructor-led hands-on training to familiarize the Airmen with location specific maintenance operations. With a small class-size of up to five students, instructors can offer students a more personal experience, Hubbard said.
“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.”
Smaller class sizes lead to better, faster and tailored training to the aircraft they are working.
“I take them to the flightline to get them familiar and comfortable with being around the aircraft and their new work environment,” said Hubbard. “We get hands-on with the jets. By the time my last class graduated, their grease covered uniforms reflected all the hard work and training.”
Luke AFB’s first RTT class graduated October 6 and its third is in session and projected to graduate December 9.
In its first two iterations, the class has evolved to fit the needs of the students. 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.
“Now we're just getting to the meat of what they need to do regarding daily sortie generations,” Hubbard said. “That includes lots of launching out and refueling aircraft, taking oil samples, doing their inspections and proper forms of documentation.”
Det. 12 is the largest training detachment in the Air Force and had a large part in the validation process for the course, said Hubbard.
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,” said Hubbard. “We want to make sure that they're ready to operate on the flightline and generate sorties day in and day out.”