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388th Munitions Squadron begins new familiarization training regimen

A photo of munitions training

U.S. Air Force Airmen assigned to the 388th Munitions Squadron, secure four GBU/39B precision guided munitions to a bomb rack during a training exercise held at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, July 8, 2021. The BRU-61 rack can hold four GBU-39/Bs in a single configuration, capable of destroying high-priority fixed and stationary targets from Air Force fighters and bombers. The bombs can be loaded in internal bays or on external hard-points, which increases aircraft loadout, decreases the logistical footprint, decreases collateral damage, and improves aircraft sortie generation times. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Codie Trimble)

A photo of munitions training

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Kenneth Kirven, 388th Munitions Squadron precision guided munitions crew chief, prepares a GBU/39B for a training exercise held at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, July 8, 2021. The GBU/39B is an extended range all-weather, day or night 250-pound class, guided munition, which relies on the Global Positioning System to provide navigation to the target. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Codie Trimble)

A photo of munitions training

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Ashton Norton, left, precision guided munitions crew chief and Airman 1st Class Gabriel Pearce, right, munition stockpile manager, both assigned to the 388th Munitions Squadron, prepare a GBU/39B during a training exercise held at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, July 8, 2021. The GBU/39B is an extended range all-weather, day or night 250-pound class, guided munition, which relies on the Global Positioning System to provide navigation to the target. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Codie Trimble)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- The 388th Munitions Squadron began a new training regimen recently encompassing each of their twelve different sections.

Starting in the precision guided munitions section, Airmen from one of the other ten sections in the squadron received familiarization training on the Guided Bomb Unit-39 small diameter bomb. The training covered proper loading and unloading techniques on the GBU/39, and its bomb rack, the BRU-61. The plan is to incorporate each different munitions section into the training. 

“This training is important because this is exactly something we would do downrange on a daily basis. Every section is trained and ready on this system when we have to deploy,” said Staff Sergeant Kenneth Kirven, 388th MUNS precision guided munitions crew chief and lead instructor for the training.

The new 388th MUNS training program improves the effectiveness and overall readiness of 388th MUNS by bringing airmen from various sections within the squadron and training them on a weapon system that they might not work with on a day-to-day basis.  

“Each section within MUNS has their own job and they typically stick to their specific mission,” said Airman Steven Cesena, munition systems crew member. “I usually build larger bombs like the GBU/31, so seeing the GBU/39 is significantly smaller. This training does a great job of keeping our Airmen well-rounded. My specific job might change when I deploy so learning the precision-guided-munitions side of MUNS keeps me prepared for whatever might be thrown my way.”

To some, seeing a technical order might help one learn, but Cesena says actually getting hands-on experience is the best way for him to learn about a new bomb system. 

“I’ve read about small diameter bombs, but when I actually see and get to work on them, it’s a lot better,” said Cesena. “I just learned exactly how we would begin the process of transporting them to the flightline and how we would properly prepare them to make sure everything is safe. If one little thing is off, it could be a game-changer that impacts the mission.”

As with most everything in the Air Force, the munitions squadron heavily relies on teamwork and efficiency that is crucial to completing their mission of getting bombs downrange. 

“Nothing today could have been done with one or two people, we had to be well-rounded and have good communication to complete this training,” Cesena said. “It’s good working with other shops, even if it’s just learning new faces so you’re familiar with each other in future operations and trainings with other shops.”

The new training program helps newer Airmen familiarize themselves with different kinds of munitions, like the GBU/39 that they worked with, but it also helps the crew chiefs learn the small intricacies that come with the job, and how to teach those to the next generation of Airmen. 

“By crew chiefing with the same guys everyday, we get used to how each other operates, so when we get to work with a new team, I still learn new tips that might not be in our crew book, but are still helping in our operations,” Kirven said. “These things might seem small, but they help out the crew chiefs and crew members as well. I hope we can keep building and growing off the current training program we have right now."