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Down on the Range…. Where the 77th Bombs!

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kevin Dunkleberger
  • 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

It’s not every day one can say they witnessed an F-16 Fighting Falcon (F-16) perform a bombing run, even for those in the Air Force. However, attendees at the 77th Fighter Squadron’s (FS) Range Day did just that.

As part of the 20th Fighter Wing (FW) and 20th Operations Support Squadron’s (OSS) immersion program, the 77th FS hosted this quarter’s event, Range Day, for service members and their families to view an F-16 demonstration at the Poinsett Electronic Combat Range, South Carolina, on Feb. 14.

“The purpose of the mission immersion program is to foster a sense of unity and warrior ethos across the wing,” said Capt. Abigail "Scar" Maio, 20th OSS chief of training. “The 20th FW provides combat readiness throughout the world, which can't be accomplished without the amazing work from supporting agencies around the base. The mission immersion program allows Airmen across the wing to experience some of the operational capabilities of the F-16s on base, and see in person how their hard work and efforts facilitate airpower.”

During the 77th FS’s Range Day, spectators observed pilots practicing aerial maneuvers, bombing runs and strafing passes which ensure the readiness and lethality of the force remains prepared to deter any threat at a moment’s notice.

“Pilots dropped two types of inert (non-explosive) bombs; the BDU-33 and BDU-50. The BDU-33 is relatively small, while the BDU-50 is the much larger counterpart,” said Capt. Mitchel White, 77th FS chief of scheduling. “The crowd favorite was the M-61A1, 6-barrel Vulcan cannon which fires 20mm rounds at a rate of 6,000 per minute.” 

Those in attendance for the air superiority demonstration included personnel from multiple squadrons, service branches and family members as well.

“We aim to foster a sense of pride and unite Airmen across the 20th FW, especially those who may not always see the operational side of the mission,” said Maio.

With a variety of career fields throughout the Air Force from services, explosive ordnance disposal technicians, to ground transportation, each one is equally critical to Shaw Air Force Base’s main mission of Suppression of Enemy Air Defense, which is focused on eliminating enemy threats attempting to shoot down friendly aircraft.

As the Air Force continues to solidify its place at the forefront of the changing warfare environment through readiness training, such as Range Day, it is clear each squadron's contributions to the operational mission are essential for success.