October 2, 2022


U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Alex George, 43d Fighter Generation Squadron dedicated crew chief, observes the bottom of an F-22 Raptor at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, Aug. 4, 2022. Crew chiefs are experienced maintainers who are assigned to individual aircraft and are responsible for maintaining it when it's not in the air. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tiffany Del Oso)
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Alex George, 43d Fighter Generation Squadron dedicated crew chief, reviews maintenance data at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, Aug. 4, 2022. After any maintenance is completed on an aircraft, the maintainer must log their tasks to keep a record of all maintenance the aircraft has received. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tiffany Del Oso)
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Alex George, 43d Fighter Generation Squadron dedicated crew chief, removes a bolt from the bottom of an F-22 Raptor at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, Aug. 4, 2022. Crew chiefs are experienced maintainers who are assigned to individual aircraft and are responsible for maintaining it when it's not in the air. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tiffany Del Oso)
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Alex George, 43d Fighter Generation Squadron dedicated crew chief, screws a bolt into an F-22 Raptor at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, Aug. 4, 2022. George recently completed Cross Utilization Training, where he swapped specialties with another Airman within the squadron to broaden his skillset and contribute to a force of multi-capable Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tiffany Del Oso)

Accelerating change and encouraging innovation are some of the most important doctrines a military can pursue when preparing for 21st century warfare. The Cross Utilization Training program is one of many efforts put forth by the U.S. Air Force to build a force of multi-capable Airmen.
The CUT program, integrated into the operations of the 43d Fighter Generation Squadron provides Airmen the opportunity to gain job experience and grow their skillset by training in a different career field within the Air Force. The goal of this program is to enable Airmen to be able to fill multiple roles outside of their normal responsibility when needs arise.
Senior Airman Alex George, 43d FGS F-22 Raptor dedicated crew chief, recently completed the CUT program where he traded places with an avionics specialist and gained advanced work experience within the career field.
“Now that I’ve finished CUT, I have all of my five-level tasks signed off, so as far as a capable [avionics] specialist, I feel competent in that,” said George. “It will be a lot easier to press with things when we have a low level problem that I can knock out rather than pulling a specialist off their job or the opposite and having to pull me off a job to go help them out.”
While both avionics specialists and crew chiefs are tactical aircraft maintainers, they each have a separate specialty. When one has a problem that needs troubleshooting by the other, the wait times can impact mission readiness.
“[The CUT program] is very important because with this new [agile combat employment] structure that the Air Force is incorporating, we’re going to be deploying with a small amount of aircraft and a very small amount of personnel,” said Staff Sgt. Robert Babb, 43d FGS avionics journeyman. “We’ll have one or two specialists, crew chiefs and weapons Airmen, to two or three jets in a set location, so knowing a little bit about one another’s jobs is important when it comes to keeping our aircraft mission ready.”
With a mission of maintaining a force of multi-capable, mission ready Airmen, the 43d FGS also continues to support the training of the world’s only F-22 Raptor pilots. Due to daily training exercises and constant use, the CUT program is that much more important to the 43rd FGS and the aircraft they maintain.
“Without the maintainers, the jets don’t fly and instructor pilots can’t teach students,” said George. “Without the avionics specialists and advanced systems running like they’re supposed to, the pilot is not flying what everybody regards as the best aircraft; they’re flying a shell of the F-22.”
Air superiority is not guaranteed. Maintainers, pilots, and entire installations have a major role to play when it comes to achieving total air dominance. Building and maintaining a force of multi-capable Airman is a small step in the right direction to win in today’s modern warfare environment.

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