HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah, — Loading weapons on an aircraft is a coordinated effort, requiring communication, teamwork, precision, and in wartime, speed.
The active duty 388th and reserve 419th Fighter Wings recently held a weapons loading competition to test the effectiveness of four weapons crews in all those areas in head-to-head “combat” that is timed and graded.
Weapons load crew members Staff Sgt. Johathan Morris, Senior Airman Josh Peterson and Senior Airman Zachary Weimar, all with the 421st Aircraft Maintenance Unit, won the competition.
The Airmen participating said they go in with a plan to move quickly and efficiently and that the timed and graded competition provides extra stress that creates a sense of urgency that goes a step beyond daily training.
“I joined the Air Force to work on something exciting – to do something not may other people do,” said Senior Airman Zachary Weimar, a weapons load crew member in the 421st AMU from Melbourne, Florida. “Loading the F-35 certainly fits the bill.”
The competitions are held quarterly and they are “essential” to training said Chief Master Sgt. Trey Munn, 388th Maintenance Group superintendent.
“They foster teamwork that is required in the highly-dangerous weapons loading career field,” Munn said. “It also gives us a look at how Airmen will perform during a wartime tasking. There’s not anything cooler than watching lethal weapons being loaded onto the world’s most advanced fighter.”