The “Pirates” from the 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron are the winners of the 4th Quarter Weapons Load Competition held Jan. 3 and hosted by the 412th Maintenance Group, at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.
The team competed against crews from the 412th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, including Team Raptor of the 411th Aircraft Maintenance Unit; Team Lightning of the 461st Aircraft Maintenance Unit; and the 416th Aircraft Maintenance Unit Falcons.
The competition took place on the north side of Hangar 1600.
The teams were graded on their procedures and precision while loading a Joint Direct Attack Munition on their assigned fighter jets. The Pirates and Lightning teams loaded the guided bomb into the internal weapons bay of an F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The Raptor team loaded a GBU-32 into the main weapons bay of an F-22 and the Falcon team loaded a GBU-31 onto the wing of an F-16 Fighting Falcon.
The winning 31st TES AMU team consists of weapons load crew chief, Staff Sgt. Michael Hartley, and weapons load crew members, Staff Sgt. Jocquis Beasley and Senior Airman Enrique Melgarejo.
The load crew competition showcased the efficiency of load crew teams to safely and reliably arm a fighter jet within time constraints. The ability to quickly and safely load an aircraft with munitions is integral to provide combat-ready jets to combatant commanders.
The competition tested the Airmen with a uniform inspection, tool box inspection, a written test on loading operations and safety, and their skill to load munitions in a safe, reliable, and timely manner.