A New Generation of Raptor Mechanics

The Air Force April 7 graduated the first class of F-22 maintenance students at Sheppard AFB, Tex., attending the 13-week aircraft armament systems course straight from basic military training. “This is such a historic day for Sheppard AFB and the Air Force,” said Brig. Gen. Richard T. Devereaux, the 82nd Training Wing commander, at the graduation ceremony. “We’re training Airmen fresh out of (basic military training) to maintain the Air Force’s—and the world’s—premier fighter aircraft.” Seven of the graduates will be stationed at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, and the eighth will call Langley AFB, Va., home. This class is the first to train at the base’s new $21 million state-of-the-art F-22 Maintenance Training Facility that opened in October 2007. The facility embodies a new training model: combining the training for various F-22 maintenance career fields, such as crew chiefs and avionics, munitions and fuels specialists, all under one roof. A part of this new approach to training is the use of high-quality, extremely-realistic trainer aircraft. (Sheppard report by A1C Jacob Corbin)