Mission Loaded: Edwards AFB Weapons Load Crews battle for supremacy

  • Published
  • By Adam Bowles
  • 412th Test Wing Public Affairs

The 411th Raptor AMU, 461st Lightning AMU and the 416th Falcon AMU displayed their superior weapon loading prowess in the 412th MXG 3rd Quarter Load Crew of the Quarter Competition. These weapons loading juggernauts competed for bragging rights to be named the best of the best here at Edwards Air Force Base.

"Teams from three different Mission Design Series aircraft come to showcase their ability to load our nation's ordnances: properly, the first time, every time," Col. Ahave Brown, Commander, 412th Maintenance Group explained. "This is why you can have a sense of comfort when America sleeps at night."

The crews loaded various types of munitions onto an F-16 Fighting Falcon, F-35 Lightning II and a F-22 Raptor in the fastest amount of time while being the most accurate. After the loads were completed, the team's aircraft and munitions were judged to confirm the best flight-worthiness load which would be crowned as the winner.

"Our entire job is to deliver a safe and reliable aircraft and its weapons over a target," Maj. Richard Wille, Commander, 412th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron explained. "That weapon has to work every single time. As fighter folks, we know that weapon being on target, on time, and working every single time are the most important steps you have to follow. So, this is our recurring super bowl of loading those munitions."

At the end of the competition, only one crew could take home the gold.

"This is an opportunity to allow these crews to showcase that they are the best," Maj. Wille said.

The winning crew ended up being the 411th Raptor AMU with a winning time of 21 minutes and 53 seconds. Col. Matthew Caspers, Commander, 412th Test Wing was on site to congratulate the winning team for their weapon loading prowess.

"There are people around the world sleeping comfortably, going about their business comfortably, because of what these crews do. We should never forget that," Col. Brown stated.

The winners of each quarterly competition will have the opportunity to compete for Load Crew of the Year in February of 2023.