Editor’s note: This story was updated to include comment from the airman’s family.

An airman assigned to the 90th Fighter Generation Squadron died after being injured in a workplace accident Friday at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.

Staff Sgt. Charles Crumlett, 25, of Streamwood, Illinois, died around noon local time Friday, while working on an F-22 Raptor, the Air Force said. Crumlett, who died at the scene, served as a weapons load crew chief and had previously worked on F-15 Strike Eagles and the A-10 Thunderbolt II.

“Today, the Dicemen mourn the loss of one of our own,” Lt. Col. Charles Bayne, 90th FGS commander, said in a statement.

Losing Crumlett’s “drive and willingness to help his fellow maintainers is a loss for the entire maintenance community,” Bayne said. “Though he was only with us a short time, Charlie will always be a Diceman. We send our thoughts and prayers to his family, friends, and the entire maintenance community.”

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations is investigating the incident.

Crumlett enlisted on Nov. 29, 2016, and graduated as a weapons load crew member on Jan. 30, 2017. His first duty station was Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, and he arrived in Alaska on February 4, where he began working on Raptors, his father, Mike Crumlett, told Air Force Times.

He had also spent a little more than a year at Osan Air Force Base, Korea, before arriving in Alaska, where he looked forward to going snowboarding.

Crumlett was the second of five children in a tight-knit family. Like many young people, he hated cleaning his room and homework, his father said.

But the future airman emerged as a natural leader, graduating at the top of his basic military training class and becoming the sort who took initiative to show others how to get things done. He loved to tinker with things, including the old Dodge Ram pickup Mike Crumlett gave to his son when he headed off to Seymour Johnson.

“He liked building things,” Mike Crumlett said. “He liked fixing things.”

Crumlett wrestled in high school, and enjoyed reading, particularly J.R.R. Tolkien, who wrote “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings.” He also filled notebook after notebook with adventure, fantasy and science fiction stories of his own. He “just always had a story in his head,” Mike Crumlett said.

“It’s a big loss,” Mike Crumlett said. “It’s not just a big loss just because he’s my son, but there’s so much about him that I’d have loved to seen him be able to develop and be able to experience. It’s, again, kind of like reading the book and waiting for the next chapter to come out. He had a lot going on.”

Crumlett is survived by his father; mother, Tami Crumlett, brothers Collin, Joseph, Bob, and a sister, Shannon.

The 3rd Wing paused operations on Friday, Erin Eaton, a spokesperson for the base, told Air Force Times. The 90th and 525th Fighter Generation Squadrons and the 90th and 525th Fighter Squadrons stood down Monday in the airman’s memory.

“We are committed to making sure our airmen have time to grieve as well as ensure their safety when we do resume work later this week,” Eaton said.

Col. Christopher Tooman, 3rd Maintenance Group commander, called the death a tragedy.

“Charlie’s dedication and support to his fellow maintainers will be deeply missed,” Tooman said in a statement. “We send our deepest sympathies to his family, friends, and all the airmen whose lives Charlie touched.”

Crumlett’s awards and decorations include two Air and Space Commendation Medals and one Air Force Achievement Medal.

“Charlie had such a promising future in our Air Force,” 3rd Wing commander Col. Kevin Jamieson said. “Though he was new to JBER, it was immediately clear that Charlie had a passion for his duty and for service. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends and fellow airmen. He will be greatly missed.”

Courtney Mabeus-Brown is the senior reporter at Air Force Times. She is an award-winning journalist who previously covered the military for Navy Times and The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., where she first set foot on an aircraft carrier. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy and more.

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