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USAF Weapons School road show comes to Schriever

The new Weapons School’s patchdesign , adopted April 2008, reflects the expansion of the school, with 22 aircraft and weapons systems encircling a red “bomb on target” over a black and yellow bullseye background.

The new U.S. Air Force Weapons School’s patch design, adopted in April 2008, reflects the expansion of the school, with 22 aircraft and weapons systems encircling a red “bomb on target” over a black and yellow bullseye background. (U.S. Air Force graphic).

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Two U.S. Air Force Weapons School instructors briefed space and cyber operators as well as intelligence officers here Sept. 10 on potentially becoming elite weapons officers.

Maj. William Burich and Capt. Brendon Herbeck, weapons school instructors, volunteered their time during a weapons school road show briefing. The two whiskies, as weapons school graduates are called, are assigned to the 328th Weapons Squadron at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev.

The two were on temporary duty here instructing the current weapons school class, 14A, while they conducted training operations with the 1st Space Operations Squadron.

Burich opened the briefing with an old photo of a flight crew standing in front of an iconic World War II airplane.

"Does anyone know who this crew is and what plane this is?" asked Burich.

A few shouts rang out from the audience. "The Memphis Bell," someone yelled.

"That's right," said Burich. "This was the crew of the Memphis Bell. They were the first B-17 crew over Germany to achieve 25 combat missions. Up until that point, no other crew had survived long enough to complete 25 combat missions over Europe. They learned the hard lessons to make the next generations better."

The mission of the weapons school, part of the 57th Wing at Nellis AFB, is to train expert instructors and leaders of Airmen skilled in the art of science of integrated battlespace dominance across all four domains.

"At the weapons school, we continue the Memphis Bell's legacy. We do that by capturing lessons learned, training like we fight and producing the best weapons officers and leaders in the Air Force," said Burich.

The intensive school, which is nearly five months long, is designed to take intelligence officers and various operators from the air, space and cyberspace domains and integrate their understanding of combat systems and operations.

"The end state is to develop humble, approachable and credible weapons officers focused on today's war and prepared for tomorrow's," said Burich.

Burich and Herbeck both stressed the opportunity for space, cyber and intelligence officers at Schriever to attend weapons school.

"The curriculum for space and cyber officers focuses first on global space mission operations, space control systems, space situational awareness operations and foreign and adversarial space systems among other topics," said Herbeck. "Then, the various officers come together for core training where they learn the missions and capabilities of their counterparts' weapons systems."

The demanding curriculum includes 440 hours of academics, 10 hours of device training, 422 hours of mission planning, 48 hours of mission execution and 24 hours of examination for a total of more than 940 hours. In addition, every weapons school student will write a 15-20 page graduate-level paper addressing a current tactical issue and solution.

The course culminates in a block known as integration.

"Integration is the best part of the weapons school in my opinion," said Herbeck. "Because at that point, we can't really make you any smarter about space operations than you are. So, we take you out and give you a chance to see how all the systems work together in a hands-on manner."

If eligible officers are interested in applying for 14B, the next course available, the call for nominations will come out through Air Force Space Command and will filter down through local wing commanders. All applications are due to AFSPC in December and the selection board meets in February. Board results are announced in March. For the most updated information on eligibility and applying to the weapons school, visit https://cs.eis.af.mil/weptac/Wpnschool/default.aspx.

Herbeck closed the briefing by giving his personal insight on the school and encouraging those interested to look into applying.

"Weapons school is really a leadership course disguised as a tactical course," said Herbeck. "You really get out of it what you put in."
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