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Weapons loading competition hones Airmen's skills

by Airman 1st Class Justin Goodrich
Det. 8, Air Force News Agency


5/7/2007 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy (AFNEWS)  -- Munitions loaders around the Air Force test their warfighting capabilities and promote camaraderie through load crew competitions.

Recently, two teams from the 555th and 510th Fighter Squadrons here used teamwork and the communication skills involved with a weapons load to prove their abilities.

"Rhythm is really important.  That is why we try to practice with the other two guys that I load with," said Staff Sgt. Brett Myers, weapon team chief for the 510th FS. "We get a rhythm down so we kind of have a flow to the whole load."

The two crews loaded an F-16 Fighting Falcon under the watchful eyes of evaluators.

To have evaluators out here watching them can add a lot of pressure, according to Tech. Sgt. Chris Johnson, a weapon load evaluator.  With that pressure, it can be easy for warfighters to make a mistake while loading munitions.

"As evaluators, we make sure that they do things correctly and safely, and that they do not make any mistakes. Everything has got to be done correctly," said Sergeant Johnson.

During this competition, the load got competitive as they tried to move fast and avoid mistakes, but in the end they knew they are all on the same team.

"We are all friends, we know each other and we have hung out a lot together," said Senior Airman Jose Baez-Sauri, a weapons loader for the 555th FS.  "Before the competition, we are always telling each other 'good luck' and 'do your best.'  It all comes down to whoever does the best wins."

The crew from the 510th FS took this quarter's honors.



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