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"Super Bowl" of weapons loading competitions held at Nellis

Airman loads munition

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Dominique Hursey, 757th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons load crew chief, guides munition onto an aircraft during a weapons load crew of the year competition at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Jan. 14, 2021. Load Crew competitions provide weapons loaders throughout the 57th Maintenance Group the opportunity to display their weapons loading skills to their family, peers and superiors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman First Class Zachary Rufus)

Airman looks at munition.

U.S. Air Force Airman First Class Matthew Fuller, 757th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aircraft armament systems technician, guides munition onto an A-10 Thunderbolt II during a weapons load crew of the year competition at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Jan. 14, 2021. The teams were evaluated on their ability to successfully complete the load with no infractions in the fastest time. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman First Class Zachary Rufus)

An A-10 sits on the flightline.

A U.S. Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II from the 66th Weapons Squadron sits on the flight line at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Jan. 14, 2021. The A-10 Thunderbolt II has excellent maneuverability at low air speed and altitude and is a highly accurate and survivable weapons-delivery platform. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Fist Class Zachary Rufus)

Airman works on munition

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Kenneth Sherman, 757th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aircraft armament systems technician, competes in the weapons load crew of the year competition at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Jan. 14, 2021. Load crew competitions further Airmen’s skills and readiness while boosting morale among the units. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman First Class Zachary Rufus)

Airman works on aircraft.

U.S. Air Force Airman First Class Michael Montano, 757th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aircraft armament systems technician, competes in the weapons load crew of the year competition at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Jan. 14, 2021. Maintenance Group load crews were competing to see which crew could correctly load weapons onto their respective aircraft the quickest. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman First Class Zachary Rufus)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. --

The horn sounds and load crews immediately begin locking and  loading munitions into place, using skills and procedures they’ve spent their entire careers perfecting.

Eight weapons load crews from each Air Maintenance Unit (AMU) in the 757th Maintenance Group (MXG) competed against one another in an annual competition Jan. 14, 2021, to determine which crew would earn the title Load Crew of the Year.

Members of the weapons load crews are made up of three Airmen: a ‘one man’ who orchestrates the work being completed on the aircraft, a ‘two man’ who is tasked with assembling weapon racks and launchers and a ‘three man’ who prepares all the munitions for installation.

“Since my first day as a weapons loader, I heard about the importance of this competition,” said Master Sgt. Irma Hinton, 757th MXG Loading Standardization Crew ‘one’ man position (LSC). “You could compare the Load Crew of the Year competition to the Super Bowl.”

This competition challenges load crews to load munition safely, swiftly and with little to no errors. Additionally, crews received a written exam and were evaluated on their dress and appearance and the cleanliness of their toolkit.

“The load comp here at Nellis is very significant, because we have the largest variety of aircraft in Air Combat Command (ACC),” said Tech. Sgt. Jaime Nieto, 57th LSC ‘three’ man position.

 As an integral part of load crew tradition, it furthers skills and readiness while promoting camaraderie within the unit.

“This competition not only helps us exercise our skills and abilities while preparing us to execute missions for combat operations,” said Staff. Sgt. Dominique Hursey, 57th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Lightning AMU weapons load crew chief. “It also boosts the morale of the Airmen selected by making us feel recognized and appreciated for our hard work.”

The winners of the Load Crew of the Year will be announced during the annual Maintenance Professional of the Year Ceremony Jan. 22, 2021.

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