Air Force Featured Stories

New RTT initiative creates combat ready F-16 crew chiefs, saves time, money

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Brooke Moeder
  • 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. (AFNS)-- 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 extra 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 returns 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, New Mexico for their hands-on training, 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 inprocessing in 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 small classes 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. “Staff Sgt. Hubbard 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 more tailored training to the aircraft they are working on.

“I take them to the flightline to get them familiar and comfortable with being around the aircraft and their new work environment,” Hubbard said. “We get hands-on with the jets. By the time my last class graduated, their grease-covered uniforms reflected all their hard work and training. ”

Luke AFB’s first RTT class graduated Oct. 6. Its third class is in session and projected to graduate Dec. 9.

Since 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 leading 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 documentation.”

Det. 12 is the largest training detachment in the Air Force and had a large part in the validation process for the course, 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 units.

“We want to ensure we send out quality crew chiefs,” Hubbard said. “We want to make sure that they're ready to operate on the flightline and generate sorties day in and day out.”