MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
The 23d Wing hosted Hawgsmoke’s first weapons load competition April 16, 2021, at Moody Air Force Base, Georgia.
The biennial competition consists of various categories to include bombing and marshalling, but it has never included a weapons load competition in the official scoring until 2021.
“With Moody hosting the Hawgsmoke (2021) competition, we decided to do things a little differently,” said Tech. Sgt. Tracy Bravo, 23d Maintenance Group loading standardization crewmember and Hawgsmoke 2021 Weapons Load Competition evaluator. “We decided to incorporate a loading competition, so weapons (troops) can show what they are capable of doing.”
The top crews from units from across the service came to Moody to show off their skills and compete against each other in front of leadership, coworkers and families
To determine which team is the best of the best, judges used a point system to measure which crew had the fewest discrepancies in their AIM-9 Sidewinder, Mark-82 general purpose bomb and GBU-38 joint direct attack munition, and how fast and efficient they are able to load them.
“It’s a big event for everyone,” Bravo said. “It’s a big morale booster for pilots, maintainers and crew chiefs. It gives everyone (an opportunity) to see these (crewmembers) show off what they do. It also provides friendly competition (among) each other.”
The competition gave each crew the opportunity to experience how quickly they may have to perform integrated combat turns downrange.
“Training is very important when it comes to the real-world mission,” said Staff Sgt. Demetrius Carson, 74th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew team chief. “We have to be able to (master) what we do here, so when we go across the pond, there will be little to no hiccups in the mission. We’re contributing to the airframe because we are the ones loading the munitions and making things go ‘boom.’”
For the 74th AMU, participating in Hawgsmoke’s first maintenance competition was about more than just showcasing their skills.
“It was definitely a privilege to be a part of Moody’s first time hosting the Hawgsmoke (2021) maintenance competition,” Carson said. “I take a lot of pride in weapons and I am grateful to have this experience.”