BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. --
The Air Force Combat Ammunition Center (AFCOMAC) celebrated its 30th Anniversary during a ceremony here March 18, 2016.
The 9th Munitions Squadron administers the AFCOMAC training program. Thirty years ago, the course was developed to provide the Air Force munitions community advanced combat training in mass munitions planning and production techniques.
“Munitions maintenance enlisted personnel from Senior Airman to Chief Master Sgt. and company grade officers attend the Combat Ammunition Planning and Production course,” said Lt. Col. Frank Vega, 9th MUNS commander. “High ranking operations and maintenance officers attend the Senior Officer Orientation course. Both courses enable attendees the opportunity to experience a simulated deployed combat environment.”
In the mid-1980s, Pentagon officials realized there was a shortage of experienced munitions personnel and manning would not meet the necessary requirements for operational readiness. Hence AFCOMAC was created in 1986. To this date there have been more than 15,700 munitions troops trained at AFCOMAC.
“Throughout the past 30 years we have developed more experienced bomb makers which enables munitions requests to be built more accurately and efficiently,” said Tech. Sgt. Carlie Weidner, 9th MUNS combat advisor. “With the draw down from Vietnam a lot of experienced munitions troops transitioned out of the Air Force. AFCOMAC is a tremendous place for the munitions career field for munitions troops to obtain valuable experience.”
Each year combat advisors lead and instruct eight CAPP courses with 70 students in attendance. During the course, a four-day intensive practical exercise known as IRON FLAG ensues. During IRON FLAG, the students assemble live munitions in a realistic, bare-base scenario.
“Every class moves 325,000 pounds of net explosive weight. This is the largest explosive operation in the Department of Defense,” said Tech. Sgt. James Herzog, 9th MUNS combat advisor. “Since its inception AFCOMAC has yet to experience an explosive mishap. Our safety record is nearly perfect outside of a few minor injuries.”
According to Vega, who’s first day of attendance at AFCOMAC as a 2nd Lieutenant for the course was Sep. 11, 2001, AFCOMAC will continue to evolve and apply lessons learned in the field of operations.
“We have refined the curriculum and adopted new procedures acquired from lessons learned down range,” he said. “The training has become more realistic to accomplish the demands of the air-tasking order increasing the combat capability in defense of our great nation.”
For the majority of AFCOMAC’s 30 years of existence the students who have graduated from the courses have participated in various operations including OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM and OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM.
“This 30th Anniversary means a whole lot, not only to the munitions community, but for the Air Force, the Department of Defense, our allies and coalition partners. This combat capability will continue for years to come,” Vega said.