SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- Air Mobility Command will save $12 million annually by moving a weapons squadron and weapons instructor course from New Jersey to Washington beginning the summer of 2017, officials announced Nov. 18.
Moving the 57th Weapons Squadron and the C-17 Weapons Instructor Course from Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst to Joint Base Lewis-McChord will allow the Air Force to repurpose flight hours, increase aircraft maintenance capabilities and enhance training effectiveness.
The move also aligns with one of Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James’ priorities - making every dollar count.
The weapons course is managed and facilitated by the 57th Weapons Squadron at JBMDL. Two, five-month classes are conducted yearly, producing 12 active duty and reserve component weapons officers.
However, the squadron has no dedicated aircraft assigned and each class requires three to four C-17s at a time to conduct training sorties. This results in additional AMC aircraft and maintenance Airmen being temporarily assigned to JBMDL 335 days a year.
“The move will allow AMC to repurpose up to 495 flight hours, return up to 3,500 man-days of capability back to the 62nd Maintenance Group and reduce TDY days, allowing more flexible use of C-17 aircraft,” said Lt. Col. Nathan Hagerman, Air Mobility Command Combat Operations division deputy chief.
JB Lewis-McChord has supported the course at JBMDL for a number of years by providing aircraft and maintenance.
“McChord was chosen because the base already has airdrop training capability in place, and a sufficient quantity of C-17 aircraft and simulators,” Hagerman said.
The relocation plan will require the renovation of an existing operational building into a schoolhouse. The new classroom will provide a variety of learning tools, security upgrades and will cost approximately $800,000.
“Weapons Officers must be prepared to plan, brief, debrief and execute in any environment,” Hagerman said. “The classroom will be prepared to upgrade to future technologies based on the needs of the students and individual lessons.”
The first C-17 WIC training course at JB Lewis-McChord is expected to start in July 2017.
The 57 WPS was activated in 2003. At the time, the three mobility weapons squadrons reported to the Mobility Weapons School. AMC initially intended to co-locate all three mobility schools at JBMDL where the Mobility Weapons School and Mobility Warfare Center, which later became the USAF Expeditionary Center, were headquartered. In 2006, all WICs were realigned under Air Combat Command and the U.S. Air Force Warfare Center.