Shaw AFCOMP team builds more than bombs

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jacob Gutierrez
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Airmen move like clockwork in rhythm with each other. Everyone has a role to play and dedicated hours of practice to show off.

The excitement is palpable as they work through a designated bomb build – one of many patterns they have committed to muscle memory to perform at highest capacity. Members of all ranks, skill levels and specialties within the 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron work hand-in-hand while keeping in mind factors like speed and accuracy.

The Shaw Air Force Combat Operations Competition Team is competing for the third consecutive year to showcase enhanced knowledge, hone their crafts and perform their best under the watchful eyes of the judges and potentially have a shot at the Air Force-wide level in the spring.

“I reached out to all the section chiefs (within the 20th EMS) and asked for their stars,” said Master Sgt. Edward Cosgriff, 20th EMS noncommissioned officer in charge of conventional maintenance. “We selected them based on their reputation, hard work, determination and functionality on the team.”

Upon assembly, the Shaw AFCOCOMP team jumped into overdrive and made this mission their priority.

“We’ve put in months of full-eight hour training days,” said Staff. Sgt. Juwon Williams, 20th EMS munitions inspector. “Learning and practicing different (bomb) builds because we don’t know what we’ll end up getting tasked with while the judges are present.”

Training for the competition was designed to make the Airmen as knowledgeable as possible on the many different facets of the career field. Gaining more experience in the variety of skills allows for the Airmen to return to work with more knowledge and experience to be a resource for others for training purposes.

“If everybody’s trained up and everyone knows how to do the entire ammo process, than you can form a team out of anyone in any environment,” said Williams.

The competition simulates a high-operations tempo and gives its members the opportunity to apply material they would normally only see in career development coursework in a real life situation.

“Being in a different shop that doesn’t deal with munitions directly, I’m learning about all sides of ammo,” said Airman 1st Class Devon Wynn, 20th EMS line delivery technician. “Building and assembly and the different configurations that go along with that, I’m learning so much more because it’s hands on.”

Being in a small group together for an extended period of time is a chance for individuals to grow together and develop as professionals. Besides the training hours spent together, they also did team building exercises and volunteer opportunities together to further establish the camaraderie between them. The closeness and determination among them was something that did not go unnoticed.

“It’s the drive, it’s different on this team,” said Williams. “Everybody wants to be there.”

The adjudicators are scheduled to visit several teams within Air Combat Command and then make their final determination with regards to different standards in accuracy, safety and general knowledge.

Williams said while the team waits on the overall results they continue to maintain that driven mentality and underlying sense of optimism for a chance at the next round. They carry with them ideas for bettering work environments back in their respective shops and the lessons learned of positivity, team building and respect for one another.

“The way we all came together as a team, as people who are willing to work hard and work together, we want to win,” said Wynn. “If you have people with that mentality, the job becomes way more fun.”