Weapons Load Crew of the Quarter competition shows off 'best of the best'

Airman 1st Class Robert Pennock and Staff Sgt. Christopher Croley, 9th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, guide a GBU-10 bomb into locking position on an F-117A Nighthawk during a Weapons Load Crew of the Quarter competition Dec. 8. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jamal Sutter)

Airman 1st Class Robert Pennock and Staff Sgt. Christopher Croley, 9th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, guide a GBU-10 bomb into locking position on an F-117A Nighthawk during a Weapons Load Crew of the Quarter competition Dec. 8. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jamal Sutter)

Staff Sgt. Christpoher Croley, 9th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, puts away tubing from a stray voltage check during the Weapons Load Crew of the Quarter competition Dec. 8. Sergeant Croley is the load crew chief of the winning team. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jamal Sutter)

Staff Sgt. Christpoher Croley, 9th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, puts away tubing from a stray voltage check during the Weapons Load Crew of the Quarter competition Dec. 8. Sergeant Croley is the load crew chief of the winning team. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jamal Sutter)

Staff Sgt. Jason Compton, 8th Aircraft Maintenance Unit holds a GBU-10 bomb steady as Airman 1st Class Jacob Johnson maneuvers an MJ-1 bomb lift truck to transport the bomb from the rack to the F-117A during the Weapons Load Crew of the Quarter competition Dec. 8. The grey jammers, as the MJ-1 is also known, made its competition debut from the original dark green color.  (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jamal Sutter)

Staff Sgt. Jason Compton, 8th Aircraft Maintenance Unit holds a GBU-10 bomb steady as Airman 1st Class Jacob Johnson maneuvers an MJ-1 bomb lift truck to transport the bomb from the rack to the F-117A during the Weapons Load Crew of the Quarter competition Dec. 8. The grey jammers, as the MJ-1 is also known, made its competition debut from the original dark green color. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jamal Sutter)

Airman 1st Class Jacob Johnson, 8th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, puts the finishing touches on the fins after the bomb is loaded on the the aircraft as Staff Sgt. Jason Compton, 8 AMU, performs a checklist to insure all is secure during the Weapons Load Crew of the Quarter competition Dec. 8. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jamal Sutter)

Airman 1st Class Jacob Johnson, 8th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, puts the finishing touches on the fins after the bomb is loaded on the the aircraft as Staff Sgt. Jason Compton, 8 AMU, performs a checklist to insure all is secure during the Weapons Load Crew of the Quarter competition Dec. 8. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jamal Sutter)

Airman 1st Class Jacob Johnson, 8th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, gets an AFI 36-2903 dress and appearance inspection by Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Snyder, 49th Maintenance Group. The inspection is one of four categories in the Weapons Load Crew of the Quarter competition that took place Dec. 8. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jamal Sutter)

Airman 1st Class Jacob Johnson, 8th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, gets an AFI 36-2903 dress and appearance inspection by Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Snyder, 49th Maintenance Group. The inspection is one of four categories in the Weapons Load Crew of the Quarter competition that took place Dec. 8. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Jamal Sutter)

HOLLOMAN AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. -- The Load Crew of the Quarter competition Friday was a close match to the very end.
This competition recognizes the "best of the best" of 18 weapons load crews at Holloman, said Tech. Sgt. Gilbert Cruz, 49th Maintenance Group.

"The two best weapons load crews (one from the 8th Aircraft Maintenance Unit and one from the 9th Aircraft Maintenance Unit) from the quarter are selected to represent their respective AMU and compete against each other to determine who the best load crew of the quarter is," he said. "Anywhere from five to 12 weapons standardization personnel evaluate the load crews in four different categories."

The four categories are a 25-question academic exam; an AFI 36-2903 dress and appearance inspection; a Composite Tool Kit (toolbox) inspection and the loading inspection.

"Crews start out with 7,800 total points," said Sergeant Cruz. "Points are then added and subtracted based on each crew's and member's performance during each evaluated category."

"At the end of the competition, the load crews have a chance to dispute any discrepancies they may have gotten," said Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Snyder, 49 MXG.
"If the crew wins the dispute, they get the points back and could win the competition. But if they lose the dispute, they lose the original points plus 50 more."

"A load crew is made of three members," said Sergeant Cruz. "Member number one is the load crew chief and is responsible for the entire loading task. The number two member is responsible for the CTK and bomb rack inspections and the number three member is responsible for the munitions inspections and driving the MJ-1 bomb lift truck."

The weapons loading career field is one of the only fields in the Air Force that requires a monthly evaluation to show the knowledge and proficiency in all weapons loading tasks, said Sergeant Cruz. Load crews will perform two to four loads during a scheduled training session.

"The F-117A has a variety of munitions that can be loaded," said Sergeant Cruz. "Load crews are certified on 10 different types of munitions and qualified on one support type munitions. The GBU-10, used for the competition, is a 2,000-pound semi-active laser guided bomb used against hardened targets."

Making a debut in the competition was the newly grey MJ-1 bomb lift truck, also known as jammers, said Chief Snyder. The jammers were recently painted grey from the original dark green color.

"The jammers transport the bomb from the rack to the aircraft," said Airman 1st Class Robert Pennock, 9th Aircraft Maintenance Unit.

The winner of this competition was the 9 AMU, with Staff Sgt. Christopher Croley, Staff Sgt. Christopher Osterholm and Airman Pennock. They will be officially recognized in January when they will receive a plaque, certificates and a one day pass.