AF Combat Ammunition Center: Stepping stone for munitions leaders
By Airman 1st Class Ramon A. Adelan, 9th Reconnaissance Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 16, 2014
BEALE AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. (AFNS) -- When the Department of Defense needs ammunition Airmen trained for mission readiness, they call Beale Air Force Base, California, to carry out the task.
Beale AFB is the home of the Air Force Combat Ammunition Center, or AFCOMAC, which provides the Air Force munitions community with advanced training in mass combat ammunition planning and production techniques.
"We are very unique; we are the only school house in the Department of Defense that does this," said Master Sgt. John Shaw, the 9th Munitions Squadron AFCOMAC planning superintendent. "AFCOMAC is the only place you are able to receive this type of training. It is so unique we have accommodated other branches to participate in the class."
AFCOMAC is a school for senior airmen and above to receive upgrade training. Eight classes are held each year, consisting of 70 students per class training for three weeks.Classes consist of personnel from each rank and is divided up into three teams. The teams work as they would in an operational environment.
"Our students come from across the Air Force and have three weeks to learn the academics, the builds, and put them in the field for the Iron Flag exercise, which is the final portion of the course," Shaw said. "It's a huge leadership challenge to bring students together with their strengths and weaknesses."
The students are required to build approximately 1,000 bombs in three and a half days during Iron Flag. The exercise simulates an order of munitions, which has to be assembled, inspected, and delivered to a simulated aircraft for loading.
"Students get to see all the different ammunition configurations here," said Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Adam, the 9th Munitions Squadron AFCOMAC combat advisor. "Every aircraft has different configuration. Their fins are aligned differently, accessories can vary for the bomb rack, and there are a lot of little nuances with aircraft that require a lot of attention to detail."
Iron Flag tests the students' abilities to assemble their work pad, follow their created plan of execution, meet order numbers, time and quality, and repack the work pad. The AFCOMAC cadre evaluates each team throughout the exercise.
"We tell them when they arrive; this is the most challenging exercise they will face while they are in the Air Force," Shaw said. "Executing this monster of a mission is a challenge, but we prepare them to execute and complete the mission. Students will go back to their duty stations as leaders in the career field and be ready for real-world objectives from the training they received while at AFCOMAC."