Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Jan. 10, 2020

14th Aircraft Maintenance Unit Airmen Load Today to Fight Tomorrow

By Airman 1st Class China M. Shock 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs


MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan -- Sweat drips off the maintainer’s brow as his hands glide over the dense cold metal, locking and loading the munition into place with the precision of the weapon in mind, aiding in the defense of Japan and air strike capability.

“As weapons loaders we make sure the systems we rely on are able to function on command so we can remain the best in air superiority,” explained Airman 1st Class Andre Patterson, a 14th Aircraft Maintenance Unit weapons load crew member.

Weapons loaders work in teams of three in order to safely load and unload weapons on the F-16 Fighting Falcon. Each crew member has their own set of responsibilities.

“As a weapons loader, it is important to ensure our weapons are ready to go and mission capable.” said Staff Sgt. Cesar Otero-Moya, a 14th AMU weapons load crew team chief.

In weapons loading, the ‘one man’ has the checklist, overseeing and informing the team of all the necessary information including safety requirements.

The ‘two man’ is responsible for preparing the loading station for the team, and the 'three man’ is responsible for making sure the munitions are safe and align with mission requirements.

The ‘three man’ also drives the MJ-1 jammer to lift the weapons up for attachment to the aircraft.

Weapons loaders work around the clock, rotating shifts 24 hours a day, seven days a week ensuring every aircraft is armed properly and safely.

“We train to sharpen our skills and maintain our readiness as weapons loaders,” expressed Master Sgt. Eric Sparks, a 35th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons loading element NCO in charge. “Our Airmen work day and night, ensuring we practice the best tactics and procedures for the safety of the U.S. and our host-nation.”

They load the munitions onto the aircraft, perform end-of-runway inspections and armament maintenance.

The purpose of EOR is to arm the munitions on the jet and ensure it is safe to fly. The EOR members are the last ones to give the go ahead for the jet to launch.

"We pull the safety pins and perform the final checks on the aircraft before we send it off to complete its mission," said Patterson.

Patterson hasn’t been a weapons loader for very long, but has developed a strong love for the career field.

“I love the in-depth knowledge that comes with this job,” said Patterson. “People on the outside looking in might say we just ‘put bombs on planes’, but my day-to-day really consists of more complex tasks like trouble shooting, reading schematics and swapping harnesses.”

Weapons loaders working EOR are responsible for getting the last look-over.

"When I hear the jet take off, there’s a sense of pride,” expressed Patterson. “It’s an overwhelming feeling to know the jet is armed with the munitions I just loaded. It’s satisfying knowing I did my job right."

CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM
Facebook

Like Us
Twitter
322,184
Follow Us

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group conducts Training Underway with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force
The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer JS Teruzuki (DD-116), and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) steam in formation with the U.S. Navy’s only forward-deployed aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). The U.S. Navy and JMSDF routinely conduct naval exercises together, strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance and maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region. Ronald Reagan, the flagship of Carrier Strike Group 5, provides a combat-ready force that protects and defends the United States, and supports alliances, partnerships and collective maritime interests in the Indo-Pacific region.
May 17, 2022 - PHILIPPINE SEA -- Ships and aircraft from Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group (RRNCSG) concluded a week of at-sea bilateral training with a destroyer from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) May 17.The training...

Littoral Combat Ship Completes First Land Attack Missile Exercise
An AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire missile launches from the Surface-To-Surface Missile Module (SSMM) aboard Independence-variant Littoral Combat Ship USS Montgomery (LCS 8). The missile exercise was the first proof of concept launch of the Longbow Hellfire missile against land-based target. LCS is a fast, agile, mission-focused platform designed to operate in near-shore environments, winning against 21st-century coastal threats. LCS is capable of supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence.  (U.S. Navy photo by Lt.j.g. Samuel Hardgrove)
May 17, 2022 - PACIFIC OCEAN -- The U.S. Navy’s Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) class successfully launched sea-based missiles at a land-based target for the first time during a proof of concept exercise, May 12.Independence-variant littoral...

Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit 3 Train Mobile Bay, HSC-14 Sailors on HVBSS
Sailors, assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 3, rope down from an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter, assigned to the “Chargers” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14, onto the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) during a helicopter visit, board, search and seizure (HVBSS) training. Abraham Lincoln Strike Group is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to enhance interoperability through alliances and partnerships while serving as a ready-response force in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
May 17, 2022 - PHILIPPINE SEA -- Sailors from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mobile Unit (EODMU) 3 conducted helicopter visit, board, search and seizure (HVBSS) training with Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14 and the Ticonderoga-class...

Defense Health Agency Leaders Visit U.S. Army Japan
Defense Health Agency Leaders Visit U.S. Army Japan
May 17, 2022 - ZAMA, KANAGAWA, Japan -- Lt. Gen. Ronald J. Place, Defense Health Agency (DHA) director, and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Gragg, DHA senior enlisted leader, met with Col. Terry Butcher, U.S. Army Japan deputy commanding...

Abraham Lincoln Deployed Resiliency Counselor Visits Mobile Bay Sailors
The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53) transits the South China Sea. Abraham Lincoln Strike Group is on a scheduled deployment in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to enhance interoperability through alliances and partnerships while serving as a ready-response force in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
May 17, 2022 - PHILIPPINE SEA -- The Deployed Resiliency Counselor (DRC) contracted to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) visited the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), April...