B-1 Weapons Load Competition
Airmen from the 28th Maintenance Group are responsible for fixing and providing maintenance on all 27 B-1 Bomber aircraft at the base as well as associated support equipment. That’s where this competition comes in. The goal is for each team to load this accurately in less than 40 minutes.
“There’s 27 load crews here at Ellsworth AFB and these organizations give us their best load crew for each organization. So they’ve nominated their best to become Ellsworth’s ‘Load Crew of the Year’. The winner of this event will actually go to compete at. The point of this load is to provide air power at any time, anywhere. Without weapons, it’s just another airline,” said Chief Master Sergeant Matt Regevig.
During this competition, weapons experts are underneath the aircraft with them in order to evaluate crews on inert bomb loading procedures and practices. Even the slightest formality missed could cost the entire team points, so it’s important that everyone follow the exact procedure of loading these munitions.
Andrea Walls is a new Armament Shop Loadcrew Team Chief and her team is one of the ones competing in this loading competition. She says their career field has two sides; the flight line side and the backshop side. Flight line is where all the loading happens and backshop is where Airmen work on all the suspension equipment to make sure that those bombs are on target when they drop. “So me being the Team Chief, recently certified, is a pretty big deal since I don’t have any experience but we have a great training program here so they trained me up pretty well. If we do win, it ll be a big deal because backshop usually never wins because we typically don’t work on the flight line as often but it’ll be a very big deal and just a big honor,” said Walls.
The “Load Crew of the Year” will be announced later at an awards banquet.