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Final CALCM missile package retired

Airmen from the 2nd Munitions Squadron alongside retired Cols. Warren Ward (far left) and Trey Morriss (far right), members of Operation Secret Squirrel, pose in front of the final Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile (CALCM) package at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 20, 2019. The CALCM missile package is being retired and replaced by more advanced Long-Range Stand-Off (LRSO) weapons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Airmen from the 2nd Munitions Squadron, alongside retired Cols. Warren Ward (far left) and Trey Morriss (far right), members of Operation Secret Squirrel, pose in front of the final Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile package at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 20, 2019. The CALCM missile package is being retired and replaced by the more advanced Long-Range Standoff (LRSO) weapons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Airmen from the 2nd Munitions Squadron transport the final Conventional Air-launched Cruise Missile (CALCM) to be demilitarized at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 20, 2019. The CALCM missile package was first operationally used in 1991 during Operation Secret Squirrel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Airmen from the 2nd Munitions Squadron transport the final Conventional Air-launched Cruise Missile to be demilitarized at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 20, 2019. The CALCM missile package was first operationally used in 1991 during Operation Secret Squirrel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Senior Airman Ryan B. Jarvis, 2nd Munitions Squadron launcher maintenance technician, watches as the last Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile (CALCM) is loaded into a launcher at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 20, 2019. The 2nd MUNS loaded the final CALCM missile package into a launcher in order to disassemble the weapon to become demilitarized. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Senior Airman Ryan B. Jarvis, 2nd Munitions Squadron launcher maintenance technician, watches as the last Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile is loaded into a launcher at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 20, 2019. The 2nd MUNS loaded the final CALCM missile package into a launcher in order to disassemble the weapon to become demilitarized. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Airmen from the 2nd Munitions Squadron transport the final Conventional Air-launched Cruise Missile (CALCM) to be demilitarized at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 20, 2019. The CALCM missile package was first operationally used in 1991 during Operation Secret Squirrel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

Airmen from the 2nd Munitions Squadron transport the final Conventional Air-launched Cruise Missile to be demilitarized at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 20, 2019. The CALCM missile package was first operationally used in 1991 during Operation Secret Squirrel. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Jacob B. Wrightsman)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. (AFNS) --

The sun has set on an integral component of the United States' long-range strategic bombing capabilities, as the final Conventional Air-Launched Cruise Missile package was downloaded and disassembled at Barksdale Air Force Base, Nov. 20.

The CALCM missile has been employed in combat operations to include Desert Storm, Desert Strike, Desert Fox, Allied Force, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Decades later, the final missile package was disassembled to become demilitarized.

“It’s incredible to see the tail end of a weapon system come full circle,” said Tech. Sgt. Carlos Solorza, 2nd Munitions Squadron weapons system bay chief, during the final upload of the CALCM weapon system. “I don’t think I’ll ever be a part of another weapon retirement, and the fact that I’m here right now is pretty special.”

The CALCM missile is a small, winged missile powered by a turbofan jet engine, able to fly complicated routes through terrain with the guidance of a GPS-aided inertial navigation system.

“I’ve loaded this weapon system well over 300 times,” said retired Chief Master Sgt. Paul LaFlame, former weapons superintendent at Barksdale AFB. “This has been the primary weapon system on the B-52 for decades now.”

Although missile design began in the mid-1970s, the CALCM wasn’t employed in combat until January 1991, during Operation Secret Squirrel, a mission in which seven B-52G Stratofortresses took off from Barksdale AFB toward Iraqi targets, launching 35 CALCM missiles.

Opening the first strikes of Operation Desert Storm, the then-new CALCM missiles devastated Saddam Hussein’s forces and marked the first time GPS had been used to guide a missile to a target.

Former members of the mission, retired Cols. Trey Morriss and Warren Ward, alongside LaFlame, were in attendance for the final download of the last CALCM missiles.

“It’s awesome to see these young Airmen; it makes me feel young,” Ward said. “It’s always great to interact with young troops. They’re phenomenal. It’s great to see the Air Force still moving along seamlessly, with great people who still get the job done,” LaFlame added.

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