Load competition preps maintainers for combat

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HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — Tech. Sgt. Aaron Ramirez and Senior Airman Michael McDaniel, 419th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, load a bomb into a weapons bay of an F-35A Lightning II during a competition here April 7.

Reservists in the 419th Fighter Wing participate quarterly in weapons load competitions against other squadrons, including Airmen in the active duty 388th FW.

Aside from cultivating teamwork and boosting morale, the competition serves as valuable training to prepare Airmen for deployments, which often require “quick turns” of aircraft in combat environments.

“A quick turn enables increased sorties, thereby multiplying the combat capability of the airframe,” said Maj. Frank Bonnin, 419th AMXS commander.

Participants are timed and evaluated for efficiency and compliance to technical guidance. Results of the competition will be released later this week.