by Airman 1st Class Christian Clausen
432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
3/24/2015 - LAS VEGAS -- The
432nd Maintenance Group announced the 2014 432nd MXG Load Crew of the
Year competition winners during the 2014 Maintenance Professional of the
Year ceremony March 20, 2015, at the Aliante Hotel and Casino here.
The Reaper Aircraft Maintenance Unit, which maintains the MQ-9 Reaper,
took the victory by outperforming Tiger AMU, which maintains the MQ-1
Predator, in this year's Load Crew of the Year competition. Both units
belong to the 432nd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron assigned to Creech Air
Force Base, Nevada.
The Load Crew of the Year competition challenges a three-person weapons
loading team from each AMU against each other as a friendly competition
to further skills and promote camaraderie. The competitions can trace
their roots since before the Korean War.
This year the teams were graded on loading four inert GBU-12 Paveway II
laser-guided bombs on an MQ-9 Reaper in less than 45 minutes while
committing as few discrepancies as possible. While the weapons load is a
big part of the competition, the teams are graded on other aspects as
"The teams are evaluated and inspected the day prior on dress and
appearance, a 20 question knowledge-based questionnaire, and their
composite tool kit (CTK)," said Staff Sgt. Patrick Rochester, 432nd MXG
lead crew member.
Each team starts with 1,200 points and loses points for dress and
appearance demerits, as well as for discrepancies with CTK, safety,
reliability, checklists, and technical orders.
"To be a part of the Load Crew of the Year competition the individuals
on each team must have competed in at least one Load Crew of the Quarter
competition and have a flawless record," Rochester said.
The winning team is rewarded for their efforts with a three day work
pass, an individual and a traveling team trophy to display in their
The Reaper AMU load crew team consisted of: Staff Sgt. Jason Sandlin,
432nd AMXS weapons load crew chief, Senior Airman Jeffrey Salyer, 432nd
AMXS weapons load crew member, and Airman 1st Class Kenneth Rogers,
432nd AMXS weapons load crew member.
"It's an awesome feeling to have won," Sandlin said. "It took weeks of preparation but I'm glad it paid off."
"These load competitions help our teams exercise their skills and
abilities to execute the mission in a safe environment first, and
prepare to execute missions for combat operations, all while improving
morale within the units," said Col. Matthew Finnegan, 432nd Maintenance