CREECH AIR FORCE BASE, Nevada --
Load crew members from the 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron (AMXS) competed in a Load Crew of the Quarter competition July 1, 2016, at Creech Air Force Base, Nevada.
Two three-man teams from Reaper and Tiger Aircraft Maintenance Units, which fall under the 432nd AMXS, were tasked with loading an MQ-9 Reaper with one inert AGM-114 Hellfire missile and one inert GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bomb.
As an integral part of load crew tradition, the friendly competition challenges the teams to see who can load munitions faster and more effectively, while keeping safety in mind.
"Load competitions are a great way for our weapons crews to showcase their skills while increasing unit esprit de corps,” said Col. Matthew, 432nd Maintenance Group commander. “I always look forward to seeing our maintainers and operators coming together to support our wing's load crews. In the end, it doesn’t matter which crew wins the trophy, it is all about enhancing our wing’s ability to execute the mission."
For each load crew competition, teams are graded on a number of factors such as loading the munitions in a set time, while committing as few discrepancies as possible. They are also graded on dress and appearance, a knowledge based test, and their composite tool kit.
Teams are given no knowledge of which munitions they will work with during the load. In order to prepare for the competition, loaders must visit the weapons standardization section, or load barn, in order to train and keep their skills sharpened.
“The competition itself was exciting,” said Airman 1st Class John, 432nd AMXS load crew competitor. “My favorite parts were the crowd, and that at the end of the day, it’s a friendly competition between Tiger and Reaper.”
Senior Airman Curtis, 432nd Wing Weapons Standardization load crew member, said the most challenging part about competing in Load Crew of the Quarter is loading in front of an audience, which adds extra pressure.
“Not only do weapons troops load safely all the time, but load comp instills a quickness to their loading,” Curtis said. “This helps while downrange when time is of the essence, to maintain safety and integrity of loading. All participants loaded great, especially with each crews being fairly new to the base.”
Winners of the Load Crew of the Quarter competition, from Reaper AMU, are:
Senior Airman Dustin, 432nd AMXS load crew chief
Airman 1st Class Malik, 432nd AMXS load crew member
Airman 1st Class Gabriel, 432nd AMXS load crew member
Also participating, from Tiger AMU, were:
Tech Sgt. Lawrence, 432nd AMXS load crew chief
Airman 1st Class John, 432nd AMXS load crew member
Airman 1st Class Colton, 432nd AMXS load crew member