A1C Drake Shoup became the 10,000th student to graduate F-16 crew chief school at Luke AFB, Ariz. “Becoming a crew chief and to be entrusted with working on a multi-million-dollar jet is an amazing opportunity for a young airman like me,” said Shoup, who received his training certificate on July 25. Luke’s 372nd Training Squadron, Det. 12 trains these Viper maintainers under its Mission Ready Airmen program. About 600 students have graduated from the program each year since 1994. The students undergo four months of training at Sheppard AFB, Tex., where they work on aircraft that are non-operational and designated for training purposes. They then move on to Luke for four weeks of hands-on experience on an operational flightline. “To reach 10,000 graduates shows how successful and beneficial our program is,” said 1st Lt. Ryan Hudson, 372nd TRS, Det. 12 commander. (Luke report by A1C David Owsianka)
U.S. Air Force F-35s and F-22s regularly deploy deep into the Pacific region from Alaska, Utah, and Hawaii. In the future, though, the head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command would like to see the Air Force permanently station fifth-generation aircraft west of the international date line—closer to China.