Wichita Falls is home to the largest and most diversified training center in air education and training command. Training at Sheppard Air Force Base includes making sure Airmen know how to handle the most delicate weapons systems in the military.
Everything needs to be perfect when a pilot pulls the trigger, launching explosives, bombs, missiles and even rockets. That’s why armament systems specialists come to Sheppard for intense training on how to do that safely and hit the intended target.
When Airmen and Airwomen, like Lauren Alvarado, specialize in how to launch, release and monitor bombs, rockets and missiles, they come to Sheppard Air Force Base for an aircraft armament course. When you are in charge of making sure explosive devices can be accurately delivered from planes, it takes teamwork to pull it off, safely.
“We work with the same people every single day. I’ve been fortunate to have a very good class and classmates that care about one another. So, we’ve all been able to come together and get our jobs done well,” Alvarado said.
Tsgt. William Mendez said seeing the airmen’s reactions is the best part.
“We counsel, train, educate the airmen in training here and it’s really fun just to see the glow in their eyes when they see the aircraft for the first time. I’ve been here 12 years so I kind of gotten used to it but seeing them react the way they do brings me back so it’s a lot of fun to train them again,” Mendez said.
These Airmen and Airwomen not only handle highly sensitive military weapons. The training also enforces the Air Force’s mission to remain elite.
“A lot of the counseling we do here is not only technical aspect but also training them to do the best that they can in anything. Not only do we teach them technical training, we try to teach them the Air Force culture the three core values and integrity first is one the major points that we give them,” TSgt Mendez said.
That Air Force culture also includes keeping the country safe by flying, fighting and winning in the air.
The course lasts almost four months and each day is around nine hours. These airmen also learn how to safely handle both nuclear and non-nuclear weapons and how to safely dispose of hazardous waste and materials
Check out other Sheppard Profiles we’ve done in the past.
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