AMXS ‘Cobra’ loaders take top PACAF honors

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Three weapons loaders from the 8th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron were recently named Pacific Air Forces outstanding load crew of the year for fiscal year 2005.

Wolf Pack winners included Tech. Sgt. Vance Wright and Senior Airmen Holly White and Bret Cole. Each member has since PCSed to their new assignments.

The award, which recognizes a PACAF load team for its job performance, efficiency and overall contribution to their respective organizations, is very important to load crews because they receive recognition for being the best in every aspect of their Air Force Specialty Code, according to Master Sgt. James Lomax, 8th AMXS weapons standardization superintendent.

“It’s a tough award to win because you’re competing against five other PACAF installations,” Sgt. Lomax pointed out. “PACAF headquarters has to read through each (award package) which is full of the crew’s accomplishments during the past year.”

The selection process eventually allows PACAF evaluators to ultimately ask the question of what Sgt. Lomax describes as “did this crew ultimately contribute to the mission of the wing?”

Gen. Paul Hester, commander of PACAF, congratulated the competitors and the winners of the award in a recent message to the command.

Some of the factors that lead to the Wolf Pack being chosen over other PACAF installations, according to Sgt. Lomax, included the squadron’s performance during the 2005 operational readiness inspection where loaders assisted in the wing earning an “excellent” rating in four functional areas.

Weapons loaders, lovingly referred to as “load toads,” were also responsible for tracking normally-installed equipment, valued at $15 million, resulting in zero discrepancies for any one item. Loaders also installed eight F-16 gun systems, resulting in zero discrepancies as noted by quality assurance personnel, enabling the unit to achieve an overall 99.3 percent gun-firing rate.

With all of these successes, Sgt. Lomax said loaders came through on their training, never failing one load in 134 proficiency evaluations.

“(Those types of numbers are) impeccable,” Sgt. Lomax noted. “The Kunsan loaders have proven time and time again that they are ready to Take the Fight North. I would hate to be the recipient of the pain the 8th Fighter Wing would bring to the table when the horn blows. I’m proud to be part of the best weapons community in the Air Force.”