Detachment 12, 372nd Training Squadron graduated its 11,000th mission-ready Airman at Luke Air Force Base. With their training complete at Luke, the newly graduated crew chiefs will be able to use their specialized skills at their first permanent assignment.
“Every F-16 Fighting Falcon crew chief since 1994 has completed this program prior to going to their first duty station,” said Senior Master Sgt. Joseph Garcia, 372nd TRS, Det. 12 chief. “Luke Air Force Base is the only base that teaches this course.”
The program’s goal is to train the world’s greatest F-16 maintainers. Small class sizes ensure each student receives proper attention and training. With the transfer of F-16s to Holloman AFB, New Mexico, the 11,000th graduate at Luke is an important milestone for MRA.
“This is one of the last training milestones we will have at Luke,” Garcia said. “With the program transferring to Holloman, it means the 12,000th graduate will happen there.”
The MRA program at Luke is the final stage of training for F-16 crew chiefs. Their training begins at Sheppard AFB, Texas, with mostly classroom-based learning. While at Sheppard, they work on nonoperational aircraft. This is called “cold training.” Upon arrival at Luke, they begin “hot training,” getting hands-on training for an additional four weeks working with operational aircraft under the sun on Luke’s flight line.
“The MRA program teaches Airmen F-16 launch, recovery, engine oil servicing, preflight and post-flight inspections,” said Master Sgt. Paul Engram, 372nd TRS, Det. 12 training instructor. “The other phases of training at Sheppard teach them a lot of systems knowledge and hands-on inspections, but not on operational aircraft.”
With many F-16 aircraft being transferred to Holloman AFB, the final stage of MRA is scheduled to transfer in November 2015.
For previous and current MRA students, the memories and friends they’ve met during their time at Luke will never change.
“One of the most memorable moments for the students is their first aircraft launch,” Garcia said. “They are really excited to complete it, and it always leaves them smiling.”
Engram said 10 percent of MRA students get stationed at Luke on their first permanent assignment, but with the aircraft being transferred to Holloman, it’s likely the number will be split between Luke and Holloman.
The MRA is an important program and has been a part of Luke’s rich history for more than 20 years.
“When it moves to Holloman it will continue the legacy started at Luke of training the world’s greatest F-16 maintainers,” Garcia said.