Ready, set, load!
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- How long does it take to load a bomb into a B-1B Lancer? An Airman from the 36th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron shares the ins and outs of being a deployed weapons expediter at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam.
Tech. Sgt. Tyrone Garner, 36th EAMXS weapons expediter, was stationed at Dyess AFB, Texas, for a total of 65 days before receiving a five-day notice that he would be deploying to Guam. While the news came as a surprise, he was both nervous and excited to get here to support the U.S. Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence mission.
“My family and I just got settled in at Dyess,” Garner said. “Upon arrival, I was told I would not be deploying with the squadron due to just arriving on station, However, due to unforeseen circumstances, I was chosen to go. It was hard to leave my family behind, but I knew this deployment would be good for me.”
This deployment is the first time Garner has worked on the B1-B. In the past, he has worked on fighters such at the F-16 Falcon and F-15 Eagle aircraft. While the job of loading munitions is pretty much the same, Garner says the Lancer is more challenging when it comes to loading.
“At my last base in England, I worked on fighters,” he said. “The process of loading munitions was a lot quicker, as it is a much smaller aircraft than the B-1. Every day here is different, the mission decides what we will be doing that day, and some days are slower than others.”
On a typical day, Garner and his team conduct changeover, look over equipment, see what jets will be flying out that day and prepare for launches. Depending on the mission, the team will either load Joint Direct Attack Munitions, Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles or when practicing, Bomb Disposal Units 50 and 56.
“Once a month, the team goes out and we conduct LOADEX, which is geared towards making sure our guys remain proficient,” Garner said. “During LOADEX, I am the facilitator and oversee everything to make sure the Airmen are doing everything correct in a timely manner. I can say with confidence that I have a great team out here with me.”
During LOADEX, load crews load 12 training Aerial Guided M-issiles158 JASSMs into a B-1B within hours as part of their ability to quickly and safely load the aircraft with munitions. The Lancer can carry up to 24 JASSMs.
“We like to refer to ourselves as the A-Team,” he said. “We like for the Airmen to adapt to the mentality that the best of the best are sent out here. We push the Airmen and the team chiefs to reach their max potential.”
Garner encourages the Airmen and his entire team to embrace the experience and the opportunity of being here supporting the mission.
“Tech. Sgt. Garner is an excellent role model for our Airmen,” said Master Sgt. Michael Ledford, 36 EAMXS weapons flight chief. “His positive attitude and willingness to push everyone to work their hardest is what our team needs.”
Garner is no stranger to Guam. He was temporarily assigned here a few years ago in support of Exercise Cope North. While he got the chance to experience Pacific Air Power with partner nations, he says the CBP mission is also something that he is grateful to get the chance to participate in.
“Being able to be a part of a mission that has such a huge impact is a great feeling,” he said. “To know that every day when we go out to load bombs, we are making a direct impact to the mission is a feeling that we are all proud of.”
The team will return to Dyess in August and will swap out with B-1B teams from Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota.
“The team will continue to support this mission and finish strong,” Garner said. “The A-Team will go out with a bang!”
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