142nd Wing Airmen support Weapons Instructor Course at Nellis AFB

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Steph Sawyer
  • 142nd Wing/Public Affairs

For two weeks in April, 140 Airmen from the 142nd Wing trained and supported the U.S. Air Force’s Weapons Instructor Course at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada.

WIC is the schoolhouse for future weapons officers of the U.S. Air Force. The six month course is attended by Airmen from a variety of backgrounds, from pilots to Intel officers, Air Battle Managers, cyber, and more. WIC enhances skill sets and prepares those who attend to fulfill the role of lead instructor for their squadron.

For pilots, the flying training portion of WIC is extremely challenging as it is designed to provide pilots with a level of realism that is unattainable at their home stations given the number and types of aircraft involved, combined with access to the unique surface-to-air threats that are generated at the Nevada Test and Training Range.

Though 142nd Wing Airmen were fulfilling a supporting role for WIC, the mission provided opportunities for Airmen to gain new experiences and knowledge through their participation in training.

123rd Fighter Squadron pilot, Capt. Jordan Zamora supported WIC along with several other pilots from his squadron. He remarked on the uniqueness of the training and the opportunities it has presented.

“It’s been mine and a few other young guys' first time flying and fighting with so many other aircraft in the sky,” said Zamora. “It’s been great to see the interoperability and integration with us and other fighters like the F-15E and F-22. It’s easily been the best training and learning opportunities I’ve had in my young career.”

Lt. Col. Jonathan Friedman, 123rd Fighter Squadron Commander and Detachment Commander for this temporary duty assignment (TDY), emphasized the importance and impact of WIC, given the continuous emergence of novel threats as well as the anticipated arrival of the F-15 EX at Portland Air National Guard Base, Oregon.

“The Weapons school is at the leading edge of developing and refining tactics against ever-increasing threats. Our missions here enable us to get a front row seat as many of these tactics are developed and refined by the best instructors in the Air Force,” said Friedman. “The heavy integration with the F-15E Weapons School during this trip is especially helpful as the Air Force begins the process of merging the F-15C, F-15E, and F-15EX communities.”

While the pilots were training in the skies over Nellis, Maintenance Airmen worked hard to support these operations by launching and recovering aircraft, arming and disarming jets, and maintaining weapons and aircraft.

In supporting WIC, munitions Airmen from the 142nd Maintenance Squadron had the opportunity to train on multiple air-to-ground munitions, including build-up, inspection, and tear-down of the various munitions used throughout the training.

Master Sgt. Terry Wise, a material and systems section chief with the 142nd Maintenance Squadron, explained that because Portland Air National Guard Base does not currently employ air-to-ground munitions, training on this type of munitions is rare for Portland-based Guardsmen to come by. However, this training is made all the more valuable with the pending arrival of the EX.

“With the upcoming transition to the F-15 EX for PANG, the hands-on training is extremely valuable,” said Wise. “Our ammo troops got to see and work with air-to-ground munitions and are more prepared for the transition, having had the training opportunity while at WIC.”

At the end of this training, these Oregon Guardsmen walked away with an enhanced understanding and competency which will give pilots and maintenance Airmen alike the ability to perform at the highest possible level.