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Weapons load challenges Airmen, builds camaraderie

Staff Sgt. Andrew Rapp (right) and Senior Airman Connor Hansen, 419th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, prepare to load a weapon onto an F-35 Lightning II during a friendly competition July 6 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah

Staff Sgt. Andrew Rapp (right) and Senior Airman Connor Hansen, 419th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, prepare to load a weapon onto an F-35 Lightning II during a friendly competition July 6 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. (U.S. Air Force photo/R. Nial Bradshaw)

Staff Sgt. Andrew Rapp, 419th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, loads a bomb onto the wing of an F-35 Lightning II during a friendly competition July 6 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

Staff Sgt. Andrew Rapp, 419th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, loads a bomb onto the wing of an F-35 Lightning II during a friendly competition July 6 at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. (U.S. Air Force photo/R. Nial Bradshaw)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah – The and 388th and 419th Fighter Wings held a quarterly weapons load competition here July 6.

 

Three active duty and one reserve team competed in the competition, which tests Airmen’s ability to quickly and accurately load weapons onto an F-35 Lightning II.

 

“Competitions like these are important in the weapons community,” said Senior Master Sgt. Craig Fowler, 419th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron superintendent. “The challenge and the pressure really helps build camaraderie among the AMUs [aircraft maintenance units].”

 

This quarter marks the first time teams were evaluated on securing an external bomb to the F-35 wing. They also loaded a missile into the aircraft’s internal weapons bay.