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5th AMXS weapons loaders get B-52s loaded and ready

Staff Sgt. Brody Bundy and Airman Michael Page, 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons load crew members,  prepare an inert Joint Direct Attack Munition GBU-12 to be loaded onto a B-52 Stratofortress at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., June 9, 2014. For two weeks, four weapons load crew teams from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., loaded inert bombs onto several B-52s for employment during close air support training missions with U.S. Army Joint Terminal Attack Controllers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Anania Tekurio/Released)

Staff Sgt. Brody Bundy and Airman Michael Page, 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons load crew members, prepare an inert Joint Direct Attack Munition GBU-12 to be loaded onto a B-52 Stratofortress at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., June 9, 2014. For two weeks, four weapons load crew teams from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., loaded inert bombs onto several B-52s for employment during close air support training missions with U.S. Army Joint Terminal Attack Controllers. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Anania Tekurio/Released)

Airman Michael Page, 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons load crew member, unchains inert BDU-50 bombs at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., June 9, 2014. Page, along with several other weapons load crew members from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., is dual certified to load both conventional and nuclear munitions in support of Minot’s double-edged mission requirements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Anania Tekurio/Released)

Airman Michael Page, 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons load crew member, unchains inert BDU-50 bombs at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., June 9, 2014. Page, along with several other weapons load crew members from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., is dual certified to load both conventional and nuclear munitions in support of Minot’s double-edged mission requirements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Anania Tekurio/Released)

Airman 1st Class Dustin Lumpkin and Airman Michael Page, 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons load crew members, transport a GBU-31 onto a B-52 Stratofortress at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., June 9, 2014. It takes six weeks for weapons load crew members to become certified on controlling, maintaining and installing aircraft bombs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Anania Tekurio/Released)

Airman 1st Class Dustin Lumpkin and Airman Michael Page, 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron weapons load crew members, transport a GBU-31 onto a B-52 Stratofortress at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., June 9, 2014. It takes six weeks for weapons load crew members to become certified on controlling, maintaining and installing aircraft bombs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Anania Tekurio/Released)

ELLSWORTH AIR FORCE BASE, S.D. -- For the past two weeks, four weapons load crew teams temporarily assigned to Ellsworth from Minot Air Force Base, N.D., loaded bombs onto several B-52 Stratofortresses to be employed during close air support training missions with the U.S. Army Joint Terminal Attack Controller in Kansas.

CAS missions, carried out from the air by fixed or rotary winged aircraft against hostile targets close to friendly ground or naval forces, require detailed integration of each air mission with the movement of these units.

"Being a weapons load crew member is vital to supporting these types of operations," said Master Sgt. Brenton Sampson, 5th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron assistant weapons section chief. "Without us CAS and other missions would not exist."

Sampson added that because of the importance of getting the job done correctly, munitions loaders are tested monthly to ensure proficiency.

"Initially it takes six weeks to be certified," said Sampson. "However, we're always honing our skills and staying knowledgeable for mission success in real-world situations."

The 5th AMXS weapons load crew members are dual certified, having the ability to load both conventional and nuclear munitions.

"Being certified to load conventional and nuclear munitions means we can ensure Minot's B-52 fleet is capable to deliver a wide-range of munitions, keeping the Air Force ready for all situations," said Staff Sgt. Brody Bundy, 5th AMXS weapons load crew team chief.

And while they have only been here at Ellsworth for a few weeks, the 5th AMXS weapons load crew members have adapted to the location and continue loading bombs as efficiently as if they were at Minot.

"Loading munitions is a huge responsibility," said Bundy. "We train to load in any conditions and circumstances, so to be here at Ellsworth right now is great."

The load crews, who returned to Minot after those two weeks, will be back at Ellsworth in September, continuing to support CAS training missions and ensuring the B-52's firepower on demand.

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