Team Shaw hammers down at Combat Hammer
By Airman 1st Class Destani K. Matheny, 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 17, 2020
SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Shooters from the 55th Fighter Squadron, 55th Fighter Generation Squadron and Airmen from the 20th Equipment Maintenance Squadron participated in exercise Combat Hammer at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Nov. 2–13.
Combat Hammer, part of the Weapons Systems Evaluation Program, is an evaluation of the process of dropping munitions, from assembly to landing.
“From the ammo troops who build the bombs and the weapons troops who load them onto the aircraft, to the maintenance team who provide us with combat-ready aircraft, all the way up to the pilots who deploy the ordnance on target with precision and accuracy, everyone gets evaluated,” said Capt. Dustin Rivich, 55th FS fighter pilot.
Evaluators from the WSEP team assess the effectiveness, maintainability and accuracy of precision guided air-to-ground munitions of squadrons across the Air Force at the Utah Test and Training Range.
At the end of the day, Airmen recieve their results, which includes approximate miss distance, if desired weapon effects were achieved and if anything broke down along the chain.
“So far we’re doing awesome, we’re rollin’ em,” said Rivich. “We’ve employed a lot of laser-guided weapons, GPS guided weapons and some high-speed anti-radiation missiles.”
Team Shaw is also staying COVID-19 conscious while remaining up-to-date on training to maintain mission readiness.
“The big thing here is prevention,” said Tech. Sgt. Dan Green, 55th FS independent duty medical technician. “Our restrictions here are the same as Utah restrictions since we are on a temporary duty assignment here. So no groups more than 10 people, social distancing and appropriate mask wear. Since we don’t really have the option to cook our own food here, staying safe when ordering food from restaurants is also important.”
In total, all Team Shaw Airmen built, loaded and dropped nine HARMs, 20 AGR 20A advance precision kill weapons system laser guided rockets and 30 bombs over the UTTR.
“Coming to this exercise was important to get the Shooters realistic training with live weapons employment,” said Capt. Grant Ritchie, 55th FS exercise project officer. “We had a lot of first time droppers and getting our young guys experience in stressful situations is critical as we build the shooter team for combat.”