Events

February 7, 2014

Weapons load competition ‘like Super Bowl’ for load crews

Airman 1st Class Maurice Appleton (center) is evaluated as he loads the GBU-38 JDAM onto an F-16 while Staff Sgt. Dustin Jones (left) works on the AIM-120 AMRAAM.

It was Shadow versus Joint Strike Fighter when two crews competed Feb. 3, in the 2013 Weapons Load Competition of the Year at Edwards.

Two load crews competed, one working on an F-35 Lightning Two and the other on an F-16 Fighting Falcon to load an air intercept missile and a guided bomb onto each aircraft. The objective is to load both inert weapons onto their aircraft with speed and precision.

Each team has three crew members and an individual evaluator is assigned to each member. The evaluators verify that tasks and procedures are performed safely and according to technical data standards.

The teams are evaluated on their dress and appearance, a 25-question test, a tool box inspection and how they load the aircraft.

According to Staff Sgt. Dustin Jones, 445th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, Weapons Load crew chief, in order to participate in the annual competition, you have to win load crew of the quarter first.

Staff Sgt. Kyle Lane 412th Maintenance Group, Weapons Load crew chief, prepares to load a GBU-32 JDAM on an F-35 during the Annual Weapons Load Competition Feb. 3.

“It dates back pretty far in our heritage as weapons load crew members and team chiefs. It’s kind of like our Super Bowl,” said Jones. “It’s something that we look forward to and it’s a big award for everybody to look back in our career and say ‘yeah, I won load crew of the year.'”

Jones added that the winner will usually receive “a certificate, a hand-shake from the general and a trophy.”

But the competition isn’t just about the award, it’s a way to encourage camaraderie and to discourage complacency.

“I’ve been doing this for three years and it’s fun,” said Senior Airman James Capone, 412th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, Weapons Load crew member. “It may seem monotonous after a while, but you get into a groove of just being able to do well and it starts becoming like clockwork and you enjoy doing it. Part of why we do the competition is to keep safety in forefront of our minds.”

Jones added that the munitions are treated as real-world as possible. “Our munition requires a certain amount of time to load. If we’re in real combat situations we have to have that thing loaded in a certain amount of time to get the jet up in the air and so we train that way every day,” said Jones. “We want it as safe as possible. We don’t want to damage any equipment or cause any injuries to any of our guys.”

Airman 1st Class Briano Molinaro (left), 445th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, Weapons Load crew member races Senior Airman James Capone (right), 412th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, in a Jammer Jamboree during the Annual Weapons Load Competition.

The competition ended with a Jammer Jamboree. Two drivers were tasked with weaving in and out of a series of orange cones in their jammers. “This is a fun way of showing who has the “best of the best” skills at driving bomb loaders,” said Tech. Sgt. Jarrod Miller, 412th Maintenance Group, NCO in charge of weapons standardization.

He added, “Aircraft Armament Systems Technicians have been competing in Weapons Load Competitions dating back before the Korean War. This is a tradition that builds morale, pride, and camaraderie amongst the units.”

The winners of the competition will be announced at the Maintenance Professional of the Year Banquet in March.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

News Briefs April 17, 2015

STEM Expo The Antelope Valley Union High School District needs volunteers to serve as judges for the first Annual STEM Expo 5:30 p.m., April 27 at Eastside High School. Students will be evaluated in seven categories: Environmental/Agricultural Innovation, Invention, Reverse Engineering, Robotics and Computer Science, Rube Goldberg, Science Fiction, and Science Inquiry. Eastside High School...
 
 

Sexual assault survivor: One Airman’s story

- By a Survivor WASHINGTON — Sexual assault is a hot topic — one addressed in annual training and at commander’s calls throughout the Air Force — yet the details of victims’ stories are seldom mentioned. This is understandable. These crimes against service members are intensely personal. Also, as many survivors have learned, listeners don’t...
 
 
cmsaf

Q&A with the CMSAF

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody and his wife, retired Chief Master Sgt. Athena Cody, visited Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas, from March 31 to April 2. During his visit, Cody met with Airmen to discuss morale, w...
 

 
U.S. Air Force photo by Michael J. Pausic

CSAF discusses Air Force’s need to reset

U.S. Air Force photo by Michael J. Pausic Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III addresses the audience during his speech at the Air Force Association’s monthly Breakfast Series in Arlington, Va., April 2. The Air Force...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

Command chief shares secrets to success for enlisted

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Chief Master Sgt. David Smith, 412th Test Wing command chief hosted a mandatory enlisted all-call at the base theater April 13. Chief Master Sgt. David Smith, 412th Test Wing command chief ...
 
 
DoD
Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Thomas Spangler

F-35 program ‘on right track,’ director says

Air Force photograph by Senior Airman Thomas Spangler An F-35A Lightning II assigned to the 61st Fighter Squadron, Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., taxis to the runway for a training exercise at Nellis AFB, Nev., April 15, 2015. Mai...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>