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Wild Weasels present Proud Falcon

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Pedro Cahua, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 79th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, dedicated crew chief, cleans the canopy of an F-16CM Fighting Falcon before judges review the aircraft for a Proud Falcon Competition at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 21, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Pedro Cahua, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, 79th Aircraft Maintenance Unit, dedicated crew chief, cleans the canopy of an F-16CM Fighting Falcon before judges review the aircraft for a Proud Falcon Competition at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 21, 2017. The quarterly competition gave one dedicated crew chief from each of the squadron’s three units a chance to compete head-to-head to determine which performed the best. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Christopher Schneider, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team superintendent, inspects a “Remove Before Flight” warning ribbon attached to an F-16CM Fighting Falcon during a Proud Falcon Competition at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 21, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Christopher Schneider, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team superintendent, inspects a “Remove Before Flight” warning ribbon attached to an F-16CM Fighting Falcon during a Proud Falcon Competition at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 21, 2017. During the competition, the aircraft’s overall appearance was examined as a way for inspectors to judge the ability for dedicated crew chiefs to maintain mission-capable aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

A chock rests in front of an F-16CM Fighting Falcon tire during a Proud Falcon Competition on the flightline at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 21, 2017.

A chock rests in front of an F-16CM Fighting Falcon tire during a Proud Falcon Competition on the flightline at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 21, 2017. Dedicated crew chiefs assigned to the 20th AMXS are responsible for the maintenance and appearance of their F-16s, which were judged during the competition. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

F-16CM Fighting Falcons are parked on the flightline as 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Airmen perform upkeep and repairs at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 21, 2017.

F-16CM Fighting Falcons are parked on the flightline as 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Airmen perform upkeep and repairs at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 21, 2017. Dedicated crew chiefs assigned to the squadron are provided the opportunity to be highlighted as maintenance professionals and compete head-to-head in the quarterly Proud Falcon Competition, demonstrating their technical skill and attention to detail. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing visually inspect an F-16CM Fighting Falcon during a Proud Falcon Competition at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 21, 2017.

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 20th Fighter Wing visually inspect an F-16CM Fighting Falcon during a Proud Falcon Competition at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 21, 2017. The inspectors awarded points to dedicated crew chiefs for aircraft appearance, form accuracy, individual dress and appearance, foreign object debris awareness and launch procedures. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Christopher Schneider, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team superintendent, reviews a 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief’s forms during a Proud Falcon Competition at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 21, 2017.

U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Christopher Schneider, F-16 Viper Demonstration Team superintendent, reviews a 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron dedicated crew chief’s forms during a Proud Falcon Competition at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Dec. 21, 2017. The forms were reviewed for accuracy and clarity as Schneider and other inspectors judged dedicated crew chiefs’ maintenance standards, initiative and management. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kathryn R.C. Reaves)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Airmen assigned to the 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron demonstrated commitment to the combat readiness of their F-16CM Fighting Falcons during a Proud Falcon Competition, Dec. 21.

The quarterly contest, which began in 2015, provides dedicated crew chiefs from each of the squadron’s aircraft maintenance units a chance to compete head-to-head while demonstrating their ownership and competence to determine which performs the best.

It was an opportunity for units to highlight Airmen who uphold the highest maintenance standards and demonstrate the initiative, management and leadership capabilities necessary to maintain mission capable aircraft, said Lt. Col. Paul Netchaeff, 20th AMXS commander.

The best performing dedicated crew chief and one F-16 from each participating unit, the 55th AMU and 79th AMU, were nominated to go before the judges.

“A maximum of 60 points can be earned during the Proud Falcon Competition,” said Master Sgt. Reginald Dinkins, 20th AMXS production superintendent. “The points (were) awarded for aircraft appearance, aircraft form accuracy, individual dress and appearance, foreign object debris awareness and launch procedures.”

Staff Sgt. Pedro Cahua, 79th AMU dedicated crew chief, spent days working on and cleaning his assigned jet in order to impress the judges.

“The feedback I received from the judges was positive and encouraging,” said Cahua. “The judges loved how clean my jet was and how neatly organized my aircraft forms were.”

This attention to detail can be crucial for maintainers because it can lead to mission success or failure.

“As maintainers, we know what the consequences are if we do not do our jobs right,” said Cahua. “A pilot's life is at stake when we do not bring safe, reliable jets to the line. The mission would come to a screeching halt, because we would not have air superiority if we were to go to war.”

While the competition allows dedicated crew chiefs an opportunity to demonstrate their technical knowledge, it also highlighted their ability to ensure the combat readiness of the 20th Fighter Wing’s F-16s.

“When you're downrange and your jet is fully loaded with (guided bomb units, joint direct attack munition, and small diameter bombs) and it comes back with an empty rack, you take pride knowing we put some warheads on target,” said Cahua. “It's not every day you can say that you took apart a $45 million aircraft and (rebuilt) it piece by piece, knowing you put blood sweat and tears, literally, into making the jet ready to fly.”

As the 20th AMXS Airmen demonstrate their ownership and competence every day by honing their skills and taking pride in their work, they ensure the wing’s aircraft are prepared for combat missions.