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NEWS | June 5, 2014

On the line: An F-22 Raptor dedicated crew chief

By Staff Sgt. Antoinette Gibson 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Before wheels leave the runway, bombs are put on target and the mission is complete, countless hours of maintenance and communication takes place between a pilot and crew chief.

United States Air Force Staff Sgt. Justin Hubbard, a 94th Fighter Squadron and F-22 Raptor Demonstration Team dedicated crew chief, is committed to staying highly-trained and keeping his aircraft fully mission capable.

On the right nose landing gear door of F-22 Raptor 179 is his name so it's no wonder he takes ownership of his work.

His crew chiefs' coveralls bear witness to the countless hours spent on the flight line during launch and recovery, troubleshooting and fixing problems, working with specialists, preparing the aircraft for flight and inspecting it, mission after mission.

"The fact of knowing I directly impacted the jets' ability to complete a mission makes the long hours and stress that oftentimes comes with this job worth it," he said.

On a daily basis, Hubbard and fellow 1st Maintenance Group Airmen must thoroughly inspect their assigned aircraft, taking great care to comb through the system before and after each mission to ensure it remains fully functional.

Hubbard says the environment is a "challenge" in his line of work; ¬¬whether it's 100 degrees outside, pouring down raining or snowing heavily, the pilots rely on the aircraft to be prepared to go into the fight fully maintained.

"I take pride in keeping my jet clean," said Hubbard. "I know my pilot and leadership relies on me and I strive daily to exceed the maintenance standard."

Hubbard's commitment to excellence earned him the 2013 Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Thomas N. Barnes Crew Chief of Year Award. He was cited for his high level of readiness and efficiency, work ethic and dedication to achieve excellence in all maintenance areas.

"To be nominated is an honor in itself. It's nice being recognized for your hard work," Hubbard said.

During his five-year enlistment, he said his greatest honor was being hand-selected as the dedicated crew chief out of 120 maintenance professionals for the Air Combat Command F-22 Demonstration Team.

"Getting to travel around the world with the F-22 demo team, showing that the United States Air Force is the best in the world and that we have the most lethal fighter in the world is the best part of my job," Hubbard said.
Hubbard has risen to the top of his career field quickly; his command views him as an asset.
"By giving him responsibility early, we are helping to secure Air Force assets," said Master Sgt. Ambrose Brewer, 1st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aircraft section chief. "He is one of our future leaders, we want to keep him."

Hubbard hopes to share knowledge learned with the next generation of Airmen, as a way to bring what he's learned full-circle.

"In coming to Langley, many Airmen fostered the crew chief I am today, and I want to take the skills I have learned and pass them on to future maintenance Airmen to help them succeed and keep our aircraft ready for combat missions," he said.