Airmen compete in the annual weapons load competition

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. (KEVN TV) - Ellsworth Air Force Base airmen compete with each other in the annual weapons load competition. Today's winner will earn the title of best load crew of the year.

After 27 load crews competed in the quarterly competition at Ellsworth, the top three competed for the ultimate title Monday. In a limited amount of time, crew members have to load three bombs into a B-1 aircraft safely and efficiently.

Normally it takes an hour to load up these bombs but these teams are getting a different time of only 40 minutes, enhancing their skills.

"We are making this stricter cause these are the best load crews we have. These are the best of the best. So we want to make sure this is a little bit tougher. And if they go over time, we take time away. If they go under time it doesn't take any points away from them," says Chief Master Sgt. Matt Regevig.

This competition helps reinforce the standard procedures for loading bombs into B-1s when needed in time of war. One of the competitors is a little nervous since this is her first year competing.

"I'm a little nervous because I just got certified but I'm pretty excited because my crew is really awesome," says Sgt. Andrea Walls, armament shop load crew team chief.

Judges look at teamwork, safety, and if the ammunition will reliably come off the aircraft. This competition teaches the importance of camaraderie and boosts morale. But if Walls' team wins, history will be made too.

"If we do win it will be a big deal because back shop usually never wins because we don't typically work on the flight line as often. But it will be a very big deal and just a big honor," says Walls.

The winner of the competition will be announced at a banquet at the end of January.The Air Force Global Strike Command in Louisiana will create a written award package for the crew who wins.