Ellsworth 37th Aircraft Maintenance Unit’s vital role during Bomber Task Force 24-6

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Audree Campbell
  • 36 Wing Public Affairs

U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, showcased their tactical expertise during Bomber Task Force 24-6.

Working with the U.S. Navy ordnance division, the 37th EBS loaded 70 weapons onto two B-1B Lancers in a contested environment, further enhancing strategic interoperability.

While the technical process of loading weapons remained the same, the munitions Airmen noted that working with Allies, partners and Joint Forces added an enhanced level of capabilities.

“The Navy will build and supply the mines to our munitions systems specialists who will complete a joint inspection and acceptance of the MK-62 naval mines,” said Master Sgt. Chad Schultz, 37th EBS weapons section chief.

While the weapons Airmen have experience using MK-62’s standard MK-82 bomb body, they are unfamiliar with Navy specific attachments, such as the MK-32 arming device and MK-16 modification 1 tail kit.

The B-1B Lancer traditionally uses the 28 carry conventional bomb module, which does not meet the reliability needs of modern Air Force standards. To overcome this issue, the bomber aircraft is able to utilize a more reliable carriage system that has a reduced payload of weaponry.

“Anytime there is a joint operation there will be difficulties,” said Schultz. “At the tactical level our biggest challenge will always be our equipment, specifically the 28 carry conventional bomb module.”

Crediting the success of the operation on teamwork, the technicians completed the weapons load operation leading to a 100 percent successful drop rate by the B-1 aviators.

“There’s always going to be someone there to help you, whether it’s your team chief, your expeditor, or another crew member,” said Senior Airman Joseph Cox, 28th Air Maintenance Squadron load crew team chief. “We all work towards the same end goal and seeing the successes of our work is something we celebrate in unison.”

When available, weapons technicians work in tandem with other maintenance sections by assisting with familiar tasks, assisting crew chiefs with fuel tanks, specialists with removing pods, and expediting supplies and parts to members on the flight line.

“Their willingness to reach outside of their own career field to learn and assist others on the flightline is what makes me proud of the weapons troops in the 37th,” said Schultz. “They have been successful in accomplishing every task assigned to them and that gives me an overwhelming sense of pride.”