DVIDS – News – 77th Arms Squadron: A History of Arms Officers

The 77th Weapons Squadron has a long and rich history of training weapons officers dating back to World War II with the activation of the 77th Bombardment Squadron in November 1940.

It was one of the first Air Corps units to be posted to Elmendorf Field, Alaska. When the Japanese invaded the Aleutian Islands in June 1942, the unit was transferred to the military airfield at Fort Glenn, Alaska, and remained there until the end of World War II in 1945. Now the 77th WPS provides education and training for weapons officers. at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas.

“These weapons officers are tactical experts in the combat employment of the B-1,” said Lt. Col. Charles Armstrong, commanding officer of the 77th WPS. “They are highly skilled Airmen who can effectively integrate the B-1 alongside other aircraft and provide combat capabilities in the most challenging environments encountered within the Joint Community.”

The 77th WPS is one of many weapon squadrons, each specializing in a particular aircraft or mission area. While the 77th WPS teaches crew members of the B-1B Lancer, there are students from the fighter, bomber, reconnaissance, intelligence, cyber, rescue and mobility communities who undergo similar training in other weapon squadrons. Training pilots or weapons squadron officers enter the course to focus on tactical leadership and are prepared to become expert tactical advisers for various leadership positions.

“The B-1 program is divided into phases, each building on the previous one,” Armstrong said. “The first phase is defensive employment, which focuses on enemy threat systems and maintaining combat survivability. The Weapons Use phase takes students through complex planning and employment scenarios involving every weapon the B-1 carries.

The 77th WPS training focuses on multi-faceted crewmembers effectively implementing a B-1 aircraft while working alongside other airframes.

The flexible targeting phase teaches how to best use the B-1 in missions such as call interdiction, close air support, and strike coordination and armed reconnaissance (SCAR). These missions involve real-time coordination with other aircraft as well as with ground forces.

The integration of the weapons school takes place in Nellis AFB, Nevada. During integration, all weapon squadrons plan, fly and report together as they tackle a multitude of complex training scenarios. Students learn to integrate real-time air, space and cybernetic capabilities to solve extremely difficult tactical problems.

“Their training and expertise allows them to teach young Airmen how to use the B-1 most effectively, how to plan and coordinate complex missions and how to prepare for operations overseas,” Armstrong said. “The 77th WPS provides the B-1 community with the next generation of tactical expertise.”

Across global challenges, the 77th WPS continues to make major innovations and changes to the way they prepare future tactical experts. Over the past two years, the 77th WPS has helped plan the joint air-to-surface missile’s first combat use.

The constant challenges of training during COVID-19 have proven to be a new innovation for the 77th WPS using creative measures to continue training despite the global pandemic. With video teleconferencing through different platforms to establish long-distance mission planning, as well as Dyess AFB outings to support Weapons School integration, students continued to maximize their education without delay.

“Carrying out briefings via video conference was not ideal, but it helped us continue our mission of producing the next generation of B-1 weapons officers,” said Lt. Col. John Ethredge, director of operations for the B-1. 77th WPS. “The inherent limitations of the remote’s connectivity meant less chance for questions and side discussions, but we were happy that the briefings could still move forward one way or another.”

With the continued support of the dedicated members of the 77th WPS, the mission continues and the Weapons Officers are prepared for the future of the Air Force.

“The training was some of the best I have seen,” said Captain Tim Bjorgan, weapons systems officer with 34 Bomb Squadron at Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota. “Being able to plan alongside students from other aircraft is a huge advantage. It’s one thing to read their tactics manuals, but quite another to talk to them in depth about how their sensors work. about how they use their weapons and why they wrote their tactics manuals the way they did. ”

Date taken: 06.03.2021
Date posted: 06.04.2021 15:08
Story ID: 398189

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