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AFMC leader discusses command's war contributions

Gen. Bruce Carlson discusses the contributions of Airmen from Air Force Materiel Command toward the war on terrrorism Feb. 21 at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. The AFMC commander visited Airmen throughout Southwest Asia in January. (U.S. Air Force photo/Todd Berenger)

Gen. Bruce Carlson discusses the contributions of Airmen from Air Force Materiel Command toward the war on terrrorism Feb. 21 at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. The AFMC commander visited Airmen throughout Southwest Asia in January. (U.S. Air Force photo/Todd Berenger)

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. (AFNEWS) -- In the thick of rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and small-arms fire in a battle, the last thing on a warfighter's mind would be thanking members of Air Force Materiel Command for the weapons about to be used.

Using better intelligence offered by AFMC's advancements, the warfighter can be sure the position he's about to relay the coordinates for is, indeed, a hostile position. After delivering coordinates to the F-15E Strike Eagle, he can wipe the sweat from his brow knowing that the smaller blast radius of the new small diameter bomb on its way doesn't have a chance of harming friendly troops in the area.

This example offers a glimpse into what AFMC has brought into the war on terrorism in the past five years.

Gen. Bruce Carlson, the AFMC commander, witnessed firsthand the impact the command has in the war on terrorism following a January visit to Southwest Asia. 

"Technological improvements over the last five years have changed the way that we fight this war," General Carlson said. "We don't drop weapons unless they're precision weapons anymore, and we do very little without precision intelligence."

The improvements range from the small diameter bomb, to improved intelligence gathering, to enhanced data links used to get intelligence to the people who need it faster, General Carlson said.

Another improvement in the past years has been the use of precision airlift. General Carlson said that in the past, an area as large as a parking lot would be targeted as a drop site. Now, aircrews have the ability to make a drop on a car within that parking lot.

"If you're sitting on top of a mountain that's only 30 yards across, and it's a 60 degree decline ... if you miss by just 20 feet, accurate delivery means an awful lot," the general said.

Viewing the equipment AFMC has brought to the fight and talking to the Airmen who field it every day was one of the reasons General Carlson visited Southwest Asia.

"I think it's unanimous that they like it," he said. "I didn't run into a dissatisfied customer."

The general also received feedback on what could be improved upon, which was another reason for his visit.

"I ran into people who had input for me on things we could do better," General Carlson said. "Normally it's things we could work together on to do better. I thought it was a great dialogue."

Aside from the technological advancements AFMC brings to the war, General Carlson also said the Airmen the command brings to the fight are just as important. Many Airmen are performing "in-lieu of" work for the Army, such as intelligence analysis, driving trucks, arming .50 caliber machine guns and performing explosive ordnance disposal work.

"However, the most impressive thing was seeing young Airmen at work doing what we trained them to do," General Carlson said.

"The unanimous feedback I got from Army and Air Force commanders was 'Your people are doing great. They're superbly trained. We love them. Send more just like them,'" the general said.

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