Nomads Lock and Load in First F-35A Weapons Load Competition

33rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs; Eglin Air Force Base, Florida // February 10, 2016

The 33rd Fighter Wing held its first weapons load competition here, April 3, since the 2009 draw down of the F-15C Eagle mission, to determine the best F-35A Lightning II weapons load crew.

Earning the title of the best load crew in the 33 FW was Staff Sgt. Timothy Gaulden, crew six load crew chief and his team Airmen 1st Class John St. Cyr and Jake Wiedmeyer, load crew members.

“It’s a big deal,” said Col. Ron Huzzard, 33rd Maintenance Group commander. “This is another small step in normalizing F-35 operations where we’ve been flying the aircraft for three years and have finally matured to a point where we can have weapons load competitions.”

During weapons load competitions, crews are evaluated on how well they load munitions safely, efficiently and in a timely manner as a team.

“We standardize the process,” said Staff Sgt. Nicholas Egebrecht, 33rd Maintenance Group weapons standardization squadron lead crew chief. “We want everyone to load the same – as fast and efficiently as possible and follow what we set in place here at the 33 FW.”

Read the full article from 33rd Fighter Wing Public Affairs.