388th MUNS tailors munitions course to F-35A

  • Published
  • By Micah Garbarino & R. Nial Bradshaw
  • 388th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Airmen in the 388th Fighter Wing have created the first combat-coded F-35A Combat Munitions Training course to keep ammo troops familiar with every weapon in the Lightning II’s arsenal. 

The 388th Munitions Squadron is responsible for receiving, storing, building and transporting weapons to the flight line in preparation for training and combat sorties – bombs, missiles, cannon rounds.

Many Airmen in the squadron have jobs that don’t require hands-on munitions work on a day-to-day basis. That’s where the CMT course comes in. It helps keep every airmen in the squadron proficient in the mission “down range,” said Master Sgt. Jesse LaRue, training manager for 388th MUNS, who helped develop the course.

“Every fighting unit has a CMT course for our ammo troops, but we’re the first combat-coded F-35A unit to author and implement a course tailored to our platform and its munitions,” LaRue said. “Since we’re the first in the Air Force, other F-35 units that are standing up, like Eielson and Burlington are coming to us to see how we’re doing things. Hopefully they can use this course as a blueprint,” LaRue said.

During the weeklong course, students spend a couple of days in the classroom learning about the F-35A’s current munitions like the 25 MM cannon rounds; bombs like the GBU 12, 31, 39, 49; and air-to-air missiles – AIM 9x and AIM 120. They also learn about the vehicles and equipment used to safely transport and transfer the munitions.

Then comes the hands-on portions, like bomb building, working with the fuses and fins that make each bomb deadly and accurate.

By the end of the course, every Airmen, even those who don’t work regularly with munitions, should be more connected to the mission and up-to-date on the war-time mission, LaRue said.

“It was really hands-on. I work in storage, so I’m very familiar with the containers, but we don’t every open the munitions up and look inside. Now, if I was ever asked to help out in a deployed location, I would be more comfortable even though it’s not my primary job,” said Airman 1st Class Tyra RosarioDiaz, who completed the course last week.