MRA Grad
Col. Perter Markle, 982nd Training Group commander, Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas, presents Airman 1st Class Drake Shoup, the 10,000th Mission Ready Airman graduate from the Detachment 12, 372nd Training Squadron, with a training certificate July 25 during the MRA graduation ceremony held in Hangar 485, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Tracie Forte)
Luke graduates 10,000th crew chief

by Airman 1st Class David Owsianka
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

7/29/2011 - LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Luke Air Force Base graduated eight Mission Ready Airmen Monday in a ceremony that included the school's 10,000th student. Their training at Luke behind them, they will become crew chiefs specialized in tactical aircraft maintenance.

The Detachment 12, 372nd Training Squadron MRA program goal is to train the world's greatest maintainers. The program has graduated about 600 trained F-16 MRAs each year since 1994.

"To reach 10,000 graduates shows how successful and beneficial our program is," said 1st Lt. Ryan Hudson, 372nd TRS, Det. 12 commander. "We are extremely proud to be able to train every F-16 crew chief in the Air Force."

According to the Air Force website, crew chiefs perform scheduled and preflight inspections and functional checks; ensure the aircraft is operationally ready after the flight; and maintain and repair all parts of the aircraft.

"For most students, this is the first time they are around running aircraft on an operational flightline," Hudson said. "We demonstrate how to perform a task, give them time to practice and study the task and then have them perform it on their own. Our goal is to get them comfortable and confident performing these tasks in the flightline environment."

During their four-month long training at Sheppard AFB, Texas, the students participate in cold training, which is working on aircraft that are nonoperational and designated for training purposes.

Most of the training at Sheppard is classroom based and students are tested on basic system knowledge.

"The thoroughness of my instructors provided me with the necessary knowledge needed for the hands on training," said Airman 1st Class Drake Shoup, 372nd TRS, Det. 12 MRA 10,000th graduate.

Once the Airmen complete their training at Sheppard, they spend the final four-weeks of training at Luke, which is called hot training.

In the MRA program, all students receive the same training in the same way, step-by-step from the technical data.

"The main focus of the training at Luke is to teach the Airmen the day-to-day tasks they will encounter at their duty stations," Hudson said. "We take pride in what we do and our mission here is to train tomorrow's Air Force today and make great maintainers better."

After completing their training, 10 percent of the MRA students get stationed at Luke, while the rest are assigned to other bases across the Air Force.

"I was shocked when I found out I was the 10,000th graduate," Shoup said. "Becoming a crew chief and to be entrusted with working on a multimillion dollar jet is an amazing opportunity for a young Airman like me."