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476 MXS wins quarterly weapons load comp

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Deanna Muir
  • 23rd Wing Public Affairs

The 476th Maintenance Squadron took home the win for the fourth quarter weapons load competition against the 74th and 75th Aircraft Maintenance Units, Jan. 7, 2022.

Load competition participants are judged on speed, accuracy, safety and reliability when loading aircraft munitions. They are also evaluated on their uniform dress and appearance, take a 25-question test and receive a toolbox inspection.

“We made sure we had a plan set that we knew was going to work before the competition, relaxed and focused on our every day job,” said Staff Sgt. Brianna Stone, 476th Maintenance Squadron load crew team chief. “This win brings us closer together. We were looking for a win to uplift us.”

This was the second load competition the 476th, a reserve unit integrated with the 75th AMU, has competed in but the first for this particular crew. Stone, Staff Sgt. Ace De Dios and Staff Sgt. Justin Castellow have been a team for two years and plan to review their feedback from this load competition to improve upon and prepare for the next.

Not only does the quarterly load competition act as a morale boosting event, but it allows load crews to showcase and hone in their capabilities in rapid arming of A-10C Thunderbolt II aircraft.

“It prepares us to be proficient in loading in a high stress situation,” said Staff Sgt. Scott Barber, 74th AMU weapons load crew team chief. “Doing it quickly and efficiently, in a nice friendly competition, makes us better.

“The challenge during these competitions is to do everything as quickly as we can while strictly adhering to our loading checklists,” Barber said.

While the load competitions do not use live munitions, it replicates what Airmen are equipped to do in a deployed environment.

“When we are called at a moment’s notice to go down range, these aren’t fake trainers anymore,” said Senior Master Sgt. William Beard, 74th AMU weapons section chief. “They’re live munitions, they do real things.”

Load crews spend hours mastering thier checklists and only the best compete in the quarterly competitions. They are selected based on performance for each quarter. The annual competition for load crew of the year will take place in February 2022.