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Weapons School begins final phase of training

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- The United States Air Force Weapons School began its Mission Employment phase Thursday.

Approximately 80 aircraft from both the Air Force and Navy will participate in the nearly two-week-long event, which is held on the Nevada Test and Training Range.

Seventy students from 21 separate combat specialties will take part in the exercise. The ME phase includes seven flying windows called Vuls, showcasing bomber, transport, command and control, refueling, fighter and many more aircraft joined with space operators, intelligence officers, special operations and air operations center personnel to test the newly gained skills of the Weapons School students.

Each of the flying Vuls are meticulously managed by ME experts. These WS instructors are responsible for the scenario development, planning and execution of the Vul. Their attention to detail will ensure the Vul's cradle-to-grave process is executed flawlessly, and all training objectives and tactical problems are presented.

"Far and away, the ME phase is the Air Force's most robust and difficult exercise," said Maj. Scott Logan, USAF Weapons School Mission Employment project officer.

Despite the difficulty of the exercise, Major Logan is confident in the abilities of the students.

"We give the students all the tools they will need in the field," he said. "When they complete the exercise, they are the Combat Air Force experts in tactical integration with their own as well as other weapons systems."

Major Logan explained the ME phase is the final stage of a five-and-a-half-month course, which trains students who are already instructors in their specialties. All of the students have an average of 400 hours of classroom academics and 28 intense combat training missions under their belt, he said. The course itself is a graduate school for the already-experienced combat air rorces operators.

The course, he said, exposes the students to a plethora of tactical problems, most of which mirror real-world situations our forces have faced in the most recent conflicts. The Weapons School is not the only organization at Nellis that supports the ME phase. The 57th Adversary Tactics Group and the Range Group are just a few, said Major Logan, adding the exercise would not be possible without the other organizations' assistance.

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