After cancelling, due to weather on February 3rd being a high of 24 degrees with a wind chill of minus 2 and having ice and snow, the NTHBA was able to attend the 363rd Training Squadron’s Range demo rescheduled for Thursday, April 21st. The weather was perfect with lots of sun, temperatures in the 80’s and wind.
Under the training of the 363rd TRS students learn about Ammo and Munitions. Both ammunition and munition have basically three components; explosive materials/propellants, projectiles, and cartridges. The munition is the weapon or weapons used in combat and the ammunition refers to the charges needed for the weapon or weapons systems.
Members from the NTHBA joined students on the Explosive Range where we were shown several items used to train students of the 363rd TRS. Students are trained to detect, disarm and dispose of explosive threats and can be assigned to some of the most dangerous missions in the diverse environments worldwide. Detonation cord, flares and smoke bombs were among a few items. Several instructors were present and each had their own duties on the range. SSgt. Gillis was the instructor in charge. The group was first shown the items and an explanation was given as to what they were used for. The smoke bomb that looked like a canister with a grenade pin, is used to signal during a search and rescue. Flares are used to set up around camp that can be tripped by enemies to let soldiers know they are there as well as light them up so they can be seen. Detonation cord can be used in a situation when a troop has to leave their station and need to destroy weapons that have to be left behind, it is also used to detonate bombs to destroy enemy. Each of these items were demonstrated during the event. As the detonation cord was activated, everyone stood shoulder to shoulder so they could get the feel from the heat wave caused by the blast. The entire demonstration was very exciting!
Afterwards, due to a time constraint, the group was given a short tour of the facilities. Lt. Colonel Marcov showed members an Mk-12 A Reentry Vehicle used on the Minuteman III Intercontinental Missile. The Minuteman can carry up to MK12 A RV’s which carry the W78 Warhead. The W78 Warhead produces a yield in the kiloton range. The missile transports the RV out of the earth’s atmosphere and then releases each RV at a predetermined point in orbit. The Minuteman III has the capability to target multiple locations with exceptional accuracy. Alongside it there was a MK 21 that carries W87 warheads. It is used on the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile system.
During the tour, we were able to see students learning how to load nuclear weapons, some of the different bomb shells which are loaded with different types of detonation tools as well as equipment that can be transported to different locations so troops can make bombs in the field. Lt. Colonel Marcov mentioned that some bombs are programed to seek and hit targets several miles away.
While walking the grounds, there were various pictures of logos. Many of the groups of students that come to SAFB design their own logo for their group. Of course they have to have it approved before it is allowed to be painted on the walls. There are a lot of talented artist among the students.
The NTHBA is very appreciative to the 363rd TRS for allowing us to be a part of their squadron and inviting us out to the Range. We look forward to the next opportunity to tour the facilities and all the times we get to be a part of the 363rd. Thank you all for your service!