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Munitions Airmen: Key players during combat exercises at Hill AFB

Senior Airman Cameron Kidd, 325th Maintenance Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., readies equipment for loading GPS data into GBU-32 bomb tail sections Aug. 2 at Hill AFB, Utah. The bombs will be dropped at the Utah Test and Training Range during the air-to-ground exercise known as Combat Hammer. Combat Hammer tests precision weapons for performance and suitability for combat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Holcomb)

Senior Airman Cameron Kidd, 325th Maintenance Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., readies equipment for loading GPS data into GBU-32 bomb tail sections Aug. 2 at Hill AFB, Utah. The bombs will be dropped at the Utah Test and Training Range during the air-to-ground exercise known as Combat Hammer. Combat Hammer tests precision weapons for performance and suitability for combat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Holcomb)

Airmen from the 325th Maintenance Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., lift a GBU-32 bomb tail section onto the primary bomb body Aug. 2 at Hill AFB, Utah. The bombs being assembled will be dropped later by aircraft participating in exercise Combat Hammer at Hill AFB and the Utah Test and Training Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Holcomb)

Airmen from the 325th Maintenance Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., lift a GBU-32 bomb tail section onto the primary bomb body Aug. 2 at Hill AFB, Utah. The bombs being assembled will be dropped later by aircraft participating in exercise Combat Hammer at Hill AFB and the Utah Test and Training Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Holcomb)

Tech Sgt. Anthony Mansell, an ammo evaluator with the 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron, checks the lugs on a GBU-32 bomb Aug. 2 at Hill AFB, Utah. The bombs will be dropped at the Utah Test and Training Range during the air-to-ground exercise known as Combat Hammer. Combat Hammer tests precision weapons for performance and suitability for combat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Holcomb)

Tech Sgt. Anthony Mansell, an ammo evaluator with the 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron, checks the lugs on a GBU-32 bomb Aug. 2 at Hill AFB, Utah. The bombs will be dropped at the Utah Test and Training Range during the air-to-ground exercise known as Combat Hammer. Combat Hammer tests precision weapons for performance and suitability for combat. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Holcomb)

Staff Sgt. Kimber Bergstrom, 325th Maintenance Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., moves a hoist apparatus after loading GBU-32 bombs onto a trailer Aug. 2 at Hill AFB. The bombs will be used later during Combat Hammer, an exercise currently taking place at Hill AFB and the Utah Test and Training Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Holcomb)

Staff Sgt. Kimber Bergstrom, 325th Maintenance Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., moves a hoist apparatus after loading GBU-32 bombs onto a trailer Aug. 2 at Hill AFB. The bombs will be used later during Combat Hammer, an exercise currently taking place at Hill AFB and the Utah Test and Training Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Holcomb)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Aircraft from several bases around the Air Force are here through August 18 to drop precision-guided munitions and employ air-to-air missiles on the Utah Test and Training Range during exercises known as Combat Hammer and Combat Archer.

These exercises would not be possible without the Airmen who are also here building the precision munitions, which are analyzed for performance and suitability for use in combat.

Airmen from 325th Maintenance Squadron, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., spent part of the day here August 2 building 1,000-pound precision-guided munitions known as GBU-32s.

After uncrating and loading guidance software, the Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tail kits were attached to the bomb bodies sitting in a row on an efficient assembly line called a MAC, or “Munitions Assembly Conveyor.”

The build process involved manual labor and hand tools such as pneumatic impact wrenches, torque wrenches, screwdrivers and rubber mallets.

Once built, the bombs were loaded onto transport trailers using a hoist and gantry crane.

According to Tech. Sgt. Anthony Mansell, a precision guided munitions evaluator attached to the 86th Fighter Weapons Squadron here, munitions Airmen benefit from these combat exercises.

“The Airmen get to work with the munitions that warfighters are using downrange,” Mansell said. “They get to work with munitions they don't get to work with during day-to-day training at home station.”

Speaking on behalf of the munitions community, Mansell added that their work here adds to warfighter effectiveness.

“I feel like we have a key role in making things happen in the Air Force,” Mansell said. “The information we gather during exercises like Combat Hammer really makes a difference for the warfighter and in preparing units to deploy.”