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Mission, Teamwork Drive Michigan Airman

Senior Airman Maurice Starks and Staff Sgt. Omari Castleberry, both from the 127th Wiing, load a bomb unto a A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., April 9, 2021.

Senior Airman Maurice Starks and Staff Sgt. Omari Castleberry, both from the 127th Wiing, load a bomb unto a A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., April 9, 2021. Castleberry is signalling the operator of the boomb jammer vehicle to raise the munition in to place. Airmen from the 127th Wing are participating in Green Flag, a Joint Force combat exericse, to ensure maaximum combat readiness. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Dan Heaton)

Senior Airman Maurice Starks, from the 127th Wing, loads a bomb unto a A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., April 9, 2021.

Senior Airman Maurice Starks, from the 127th Wing, loads a bomb unto a A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., April 9, 2021. Airmen from the 127th Wing are participating in Green Flag, a Joint Force combat exericse, to ensure maaximum combat readiness. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Dan Heaton)

NELLIS AIR FORCE, Nev. --

Senior Airman Maurice Starks has two priorities when he performs his duties as a weapons loader on A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft for the Michigan Air National Guard’s 127th Wing.

“For me, its all about getting the job done,” the Airman said, still standing on the flight line next to an aircraft after he and his team loaded on a complement of rockets and bombs.

“And these guys on my team, they’re like family to me and I love being a part of this family,” he said. 

Starks and his team are part of a deployment of A-10 aircraft and Airmen from Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan to Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada, where they will spend two and a half weeks participating in Green Flag-West, an air-land integrated combat exercise. The Selfridge A-10s will be performing close air support to U.S. Army forces in the exercise, as well as supporting other combat training missions. 

Starks and his team will be charged with ensuring that the A-10s have the right load-out of munitions for every mission. 

During the exercise, Starks will be performing the duties of the two position on his weapons load team. That means his job is to check each munition after it is loaded to ensure that all of the bolts on the weapons rack are tight. It is part of a series of cross-checks that the team performs on their work to ensure the weapons are properly and safely loaded. 

“Starks is a team player,” said Master Sgt. Joe Mack, a supervisor in the Weapons shop. “You have to work well with the team to do this job right.”

As traditional member of the Air National Guard – meaning he generally serves one weekend per month and a couple of weeks of active duty per year – Starks is also a full-time student at Wayne State University in Detroit. In addition, he is enrolled in ROTC through the detachment at the University in Michigan. Eventually, his goal is to serve as an officer in the Michigan Air National Guard or the Air Force.

“I love doing this and can’t wait to see what opportunities open up next,” he said.