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.