The 33rd Fighter Wing at Eglin Air Force Base, FL loaded and released the Air Education and Training Command’s (AETC) first live bombs from an F-35A on January 17, 2017. Six F-35A aircraft were loaded with armed GBU-12 500 pound laser guided bombs. Two bombs from the F-35’s were dropped at the Eglin range.

“It’s no accident that our load crews are good at what they do,” said Senior Master Sgt. Jennifer Dunn, the 33rd FW wing weapons manager, “Each weapons loader hones their loading skills under the scrutiny of evaluators, strict adherence to technical orders and up against stringent time standards on a monthly basis. I am very proud of every weapons loader in the 33rd FW. Each and every one played an integral role in making this weeks’ events successful. They worked hard for this achievement and they all earned it.”

The first F-35A weapons load crews here were certified just over two years ago. For several of the former students, who are as young as 21 years old, this was their first time loading live munitions on any aircraft platform.

“It feels great to have been here for two years and see the program develop and grow,” said Airman 1st Class Jacob Chandler, a 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron aircraft armament systems journeyman. “It’s awesome to be a part of this and it’s possible because of the training we receive.” – US Air Force

The Air Education and Training Command‘s official mission statement is “Recruit, train and educate Airmen to deliver airpower for America.” Established in 1942 the AETC is the second oldest major command in the Air Force.

Photo by US Air Force

Featured Image of Air Force weapons load crew assigned to the 33rd Aircraft Maintenance Squadron loading a live GBU-12 into an F-35A Lightning II Jan. 18, 2017, at Eglin Air Force Base, FL by U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Peter Thompson