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Whiteman Warriors display the art of weapons loading during GSC

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jazmin Smith
  • Airman 1st Class Jazmin Smith
A crew comprised of four Airmen from the 509th Bomb Wing and four Airmen from the Missouri Air National Guard's 131st Bomb Wing participated in the 2015 Global Strike Challenge (GSC), Aug. 11 and 12, 2015, at Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri.

The GSC involves several bomb and missile wings from Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC) competing to represent their base at the individual, team and unit level. The event fosters morale through competition and teamwork, showcasing the world's premier bomber and intercontinental ballistic missile force, while recognizing exceptional personnel and teams.

The two-day competition for the weapons' conventional and nuclear load crews allowed Airmen to showcase their technical abilities.

"This is a chance to show Air Force Global Strike Command that Whiteman's Airmen are the tip of the spear when it comes to bomber weapons loading," said Senior Master Sgt. Christopher Moore, 393rd Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons superintendent. "The Airmen who participated are proud of their selection to load for the competition, as it recognizes their everyday hard work."

To initiate the competition, participants gathered in formation for an inspection on their dress and appearance, followed by a knowledge assessment. Once these tasks were accomplished, the teams moved on to the loading portion of the competition.

In preparation for the competition, the teams coordinated with several organizations and worked together cohesively, training for two months with the B-2 Spirit and B-2 weapons load trainer to make the process flow seamlessly.

"The preparation consisted of practicing loads and making sure that all of our equipment was inspection ready," said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Charles Chaney, 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron armament system technician. "As weapons loaders, we constantly train on all munitions, and for this event we took time to focus a little more on certain munitions."

Two judges from AFGSC timed each event, inspected equipment and the aircraft, in addition to watching for safety and technical orders violations.

"The sequence of events that the load consists of are preparing the aircraft for munitions, moving the munition from the trailer and securing them to the suspension equipment installed on the aircraft," said Tech. Sgt. Brock Schuld, 131st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron armament system technician. "This is followed by the post load which includes powering on the aircraft to ensure the weapon system is properly working."

Time spent practicing helped to synchronize the crew, so each team member knew where they needed to be during a particular action.  With the standardization of the weapons loading process, the crews were well-prepared during their events.

"We all have to work in unison and know each other's job," said Tech. Sgt. Daniel Jensen, 131st Aircraft Maintenance Squadron armament system technician. "There are very strict guidelines we must follow to ensure we do it safely and reliably. There is no room for errors if the mission is to be accomplished. All of these can be frustrating at times but we work together and watch out for each other to make it happen."

Throughout their training and preparation, the Airmen from the load crews understood how something as simple as trust in their wingman affects the success during a mission.

"Teamwork is absolutely the key to success," said Senior Airman Alexander Dickson, 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron armament system technician. "There is literally no single job during a load that you accomplish alone, so good teamwork and trust in the people you are working with is needed for things to run smoothly. Without those two things, there is no chance for a load to go smoothly."

During this year's competition, the competing teams are striving to bring home more awards than last year. Their checklist during the trophy presentation at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, includes: the Best Conventional Weapons Load Team Trophy, Best Nuclear Weapons Load Team Trophy, Ellis Giant Sword Trophy and the Fairchild Trophy.

"The primary goal of this year's challenge is to bring home the awards ... to bring them back to where they belong!" said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Charles Chaney, 509th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron armament system technician.