96th bomb builders win AF hardware

  • Published
  • By Samuel King Jr.

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - The 96th Test Wing’s own maintenance squadron Airmen recently established themselves as the best bomb builders winning an Air Force competition held at Beale AFB, California.

The 96th Maintenance Squadron, representing Air Force Materiel Command, took home the Sierra Trophy out of eight teams at this year’s Air Force Combat Operations Competition.

This year’s annual contest, that started in 2018, included many firsts regarding the command.  It was the first time AFMC sent a team to compete which also meant it would be the first time a non-combat munitions team would participate.  The 96th MXS supports developmental and operational testing on multiple airframes, not combat operations. 


“It means everything to us since we are a test base and considered underdogs as we do not have a combat mission,” said Staff Sgt. Deion Montana-Graham, one of the team’s leaders.  “We made history being the first team for AFMC and Eglin to compete and being crowned the top multi-capable munitions technicians in the Air Force.”

The goal of the competition is to train and learn all facets of the munitions’ specialty in a competitive environment.

"Iron sharpens iron. The goal of this competition is to increase our lethality across our career field’s core competencies,” said Tech. Sgt. Eugene Eudy, team lead, to the teams at the beginning of the competition. “The prestige of competing to win drives Airmen to level up themselves and the people around them."

The events included building small and big bombs, loading small-diameter bombs, line delivery, skill-level validation, building a munitions assembly conveyor, and a configuration load test split up over four days. Each scenario, the teams are graded by time and the number of discrepancies.

The 96th team’s leaders had previous AFCOCOMP experience going in.  Eudy served as advisor and trainer at the 2022 competition and Montana-Graham’s RAF Lakenheath team won the competition in 2019.


Montana-Graham, credited the team’s synergy and combined effort from each Airmen was what pushed the 96th to the top.

“Each Airmen had a role to play and they executed those roles flawlessly,” said Montana-Graham.  “It was a culmination of thousands of reps across the team members’ careers giving us expert understanding of tactics, techniques and procedures across all core munitions competencies. Above all else, the team must become a family and we showcased that during the competition.”

The team’s leadership expected nothing less than the best and expressed admiration for their accomplishment.

"I am extremely proud of our munitions professionals in the 96th MXS,” said Maj. John McKinney, 96th MXS commander.  “This AFCOCOMP victory is a testament to each team member's dedication to excellence, hard work, and deliberate training.  I'm looking forward to our team defending their title next year."

The 96th MXS team winners were:

Tech. Sgt. Eugene Eudy

Staff Sgt. Deion Montana-Graham

Staff Sgt. Donald Harrison

Senior Airman Jacob Horning

Senior Airman Connor Stiles

Airman 1st Class Christian Bartolo

Airman 1st Class Rita Sauceda

Airman 1st Class Brandon Ingram

Airman 1st Class Cassidy Lester

Airman Esleiky Nunez Javier