67th and 44th AMU weapons load competition maintains readiness

by Airman 1st Class Lynette M. Rolen, 18th Wing Public Affairs
Kadena Air Base

KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- The 67th and 44th Aircraft Maintenance Units competed in the first quarter weapons load competition April 5, 2016, at the flight line here.

This competition tested the speed and abilities of both squadrons to gauge their efficiency of loading weapons onto an F-15 Eagle.

"It instills timeliness of the execution from whenever a tasker comes down and they need jets to be ready," said Tech. Sgt. Rodney Retialoross, 18th Maintenance Group load standardization crew member. "The load crew competition gauges time and shows how fast we can actually generate jets."

The crews had to load AIM 120 Missiles and AIM 9X and 9LM Sidewinder Missiles (all air to air missiles), onto an F-15 within 35 minutes. This time limit ensured that the load crews could have their jets ready for military contingencies within a short amount of time.

This weapons load competition plays a critical part in maintaining Kadena's readiness and defense of the United States and its allies.

"It shows us how well we can get jets ready if something were to hit the fan," said Staff Sgt. Tyshaun Owens, 67th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew member. "So if we ever had to defend our country or defend our allies, it shows how quick and how ready we are to get the job done and get jets in the air."

In addition to demonstrating readiness, the competition instills pride in the participants.

"It boosts morale and the work environment," said Owens. "When you bring in a friendly competition, it makes everybody want to be on their top performance, bringing their A-game."

While boosting the morale for the participants, the leadership associated with the competition also felt pride about the event.

Retialoross commented on how great it is to watch the crews learn from the training that they have received and how the crews utilize the practices of their leadership.
For Owens, the competition was taken to heart and it encouraged him to perform at his best.

"It means the world to me," said Owens. "It gives us the chance to show off our abilities against our brother squadron. It also determines who the best load crew of this quarter is. If you win for this quarter, at the end of the year, we have a load crew of the year. It's more so like bragging rights, but it's also an opportunity to show our skills and our skill set, as well as our proficiency."

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