JBER airman dies while working on fighter jet

Mar. 19—A U.S. Air Force staff sergeant stationed since last month at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson died on Friday while performing maintenance on a fighter jet, officials said Monday.

The 3rd Wing paused operations on Friday after Illinois resident Charles Crumlett died while performing maintenance on an F-22 Raptor, base officials said in a statement. Crumlett died around noon at the scene of the incident, they said. Few additional details were available.

"The circumstances which led to his death are still under investigation," the statement said.

The U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations is conducting the investigation, the base said. It is standard for that office to be involved in such an investigation, said JBER spokeswoman Capt. Alexandra Buckley. No one else was injured during the incident, she said.

Crumlett, 25, worked as a weapons load crew chief for six years in the U.S. Air Force, according to the JBER statement. In that position, he loaded and unloaded munitions onto aircraft and maintained systems and equipment that launches, releases, or monitors munitions, Buckley said.

Crumlett arrived at the base in Anchorage on Feb. 4 and was a member of the 90th Fighter Generation Squadron, the statement said. Crumlett worked exclusively on F-22s at JBER, Buckley said.

He joined the Air Force in 2016, went through training in Texas and was stationed in North Carolina before moving to Alaska, the base said. He was awarded two Air and Space Commendation Medals and one Air Force Achievement Medal.

The 90th and 525th fighter generation squadrons stood down on Monday to honor Crumlett, the base said.

It wasn't immediately clear how long the investigation will take, Buckley said.