United States Air Force Weapons School celebrates 75 years of advanced training

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Megan Estrada
  • 57 Wing Public Affairs

Marking three-quarters of a century of excellence, the U.S. Air Force Weapons School welcomed distinguished visitors to commemorate its storied history, May 17 and 18.

The 75th anniversary weekend facilitated discussions about the school's ongoing commitment to preparing Airmen for the challenges of great power competition between hundreds of alumni and former military officials including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General C.Q. Brown, and former Chief of Staff of the Air Force, retired General John Jumper.

“When I came in as a chairman, I laid out an expectation letter. One of those areas I highlighted was honing our war-fighting skills has primacy in all we do, and that's what the weapons school does,” said Brown. “It's not just the skills that we utilize within our Air Force, but it's what we do with our allies and partners to ensure that we have all the capabilities to become our adversaries' worst nightmare. We want our adversaries to wake up every day and say, not today, because of the capabilities we have.”

The USAFWS has been a cornerstone of excellence in military education since its inception as a gunnery school in 1949. The USAFWS has since evolved beyond their initial mission of training the next generation of pilots, and they now specialize in providing high-end training to tactical experts and leaders across a myriad of career fields on controlling and exploiting air, space and cyberspace on behalf of the joint force. Today’s U.S. Air Force Weapons School encompasses 21 squadrons, teaching 31 Weapons Instructor Courses, eight Advanced Enlisted Courses and 39 combat specialties at nine locations across the country, graduating approximately 150 students every six months.

“Our purpose is to create combat leaders who are going to lead our future squadrons,” said Col. Charles Fallon, USAFWS commandant. “One of our main areas of focus is making students expert integrators where they can build and execute a plan comprised of many different assets and capabilities.”

Attendees of the anniversary weekend reflected on the school's enduring legacy and its profound impact on the joint force, as well as our allies and partners. From its humble beginnings to its current status as a global leader in advanced military education, the USAFWS remains steadfast in its mission to produce exceptional leaders and enhance the combat readiness of the joint force.

In conjunction with the USAFWS 75th anniversary celebrations, U.S. Space Force Chief of Space Operations Gen. Chance Saltzman, a Weapons School graduate, gathered with around 130 space weapons officers, comprised of active-duty Guardians as well as Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard Airmen, at Nellis to discuss the need for a foundational service framework, the importance of creating combat ready forces for the joint fight, and forging a purpose-built Space Force.

“What a first-assignment weapons officer brings to the table is far superior to what the school developed 20 years ago,” said Saltzman. “Every system in the Space Force has to be able to provide effects in the face of a determined and thinking adversary, and it’s weapons officers who have to develop the tactical echelons … you are expected to lead change and tactics development at the unit level.”

As the festivities ended, the true significance of 75 years of advanced training became clear. The legacy of the USAFWS will continue to inspire future generations of leaders, ensuring our forces are prepared to meet the challenges of an ever-changing world.