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Airman Jason Searight of the 48th Operational Support Squadron tightens the nose tip of a 500-pound dummy bomb while participating in the Lakenheath Combat Munitions Assembly Course on Thursday.
Airman Jason Searight of the 48th Operational Support Squadron tightens the nose tip of a 500-pound dummy bomb while participating in the Lakenheath Combat Munitions Assembly Course on Thursday. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)
Airman Jason Searight of the 48th Operational Support Squadron tightens the nose tip of a 500-pound dummy bomb while participating in the Lakenheath Combat Munitions Assembly Course on Thursday.
Airman Jason Searight of the 48th Operational Support Squadron tightens the nose tip of a 500-pound dummy bomb while participating in the Lakenheath Combat Munitions Assembly Course on Thursday. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)
Airman Tyler Monroe, left, of the 48th Operational Support Squadron, holds the tail piece of a 500-pound bomb as Col. Art McGettrick, 48th Operation Group commander, tightens it.
Airman Tyler Monroe, left, of the 48th Operational Support Squadron, holds the tail piece of a 500-pound bomb as Col. Art McGettrick, 48th Operation Group commander, tightens it. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)
Students and instructors of the Lakenheath Combat Munitions Assembly Course gather around the bomb assembly line on Thursday.
Students and instructors of the Lakenheath Combat Munitions Assembly Course gather around the bomb assembly line on Thursday. (Sean Kimmons / S&S)

RAF LAKENHEATH, England — It sort of looked like an assembly line. But instead of assembling vehicles, they were assembling bombs weighing up to 1,000 pounds.

The 10 Air Force students, ranging from one-striped airmen to full-bird colonels, worked together to construct the 500- and 1,000-pound bombs during a Lakenheath Combat Munitions Assembly Course taught by 48th Munitions Squadron instructors last week.

The nonmaintenance students were building dummy bombs, not the real thing.

Even though the munitions were not explosive, the students carefully attached the various components to each bomb’s foundation. The meticulous process took about 15 to 20 minutes for each bomb, depending on its size.

The one-day course is modeled after the Air Force Combat Ammunition Center Senior Officer Orientation Course, which is conducted at Beale Air Force Base, Calif.

The course, held once every quarter, was initiated last year to give leadership a glimpse into how munitions personnel deal with bombs on this base, home to the 48th Fighter Wing’s fleet of F-15 fighter jets.

“It gives us an appreciation of the amount of work that goes into building up these weapons,” said Col. Art McGettrick, 48th Operations Group commander.

Lakenheath’s course starts off in a classroom, where instructors identify equipment needed for munitions production, types of munitions, how munitions get to the base, the hazards involved and situational awareness.

Next, students tour the base’s “igloos,” the above-ground magazines where munitions are stored, and then check out displays of completed bombs, including a 5,000-pound “bunker buster” bomb that will definitely pack a punch.

Participants then use what they’ve learned to build the dummy bombs.

Junior enlisted airmen from the 48th Operations Support Squadron’s intelligence operations section also took part in the course as a cross-training opportunity.

“I’ve not fallen asleep once,” Senior Airman Matthew Cornell of the 48th OSS said jokingly. “It’s pretty cool.”

Cornell and other intelligence airmen, who conduct aircrew briefings and compile mission analysis as well as targeting information, agreed that the training was a good way to get out of their “vault” and see another perspective to the mission-planning process.

“I thought it was a great time,” 48th OSS Airman Jason Searight said. “Not a lot of people get to build bombs.”

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