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by SrA James Wilcox, 2W151

34th Fighter Squadron

The 34th Fighter Squadron is part of the United States Air Force′s 388th Fighter Wing at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

On 2 August 2016, the Air Force announced that the 34th had become the first squadron to achieve initial operating capability with the F-35A, the Air Force′s variant of the F-35 Lightning II. With an operational history extending back to World War II, and including the Cold War, Vietnam War, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Southern Watch, Operation Desert Fox, Operation Noble Eagle, and the Afghanistan War. It had most recently operated F-16C Block 40 Fighting Falcon aircraft on air superiority missions prior to its reactivation as a F-35A Lightning II squadron.

World War II:

The 34th Fighter Squadron (34th FS) was activated at Seymour Johnson Field, North Carolina, on 15 October 1944, flying the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. The squadron served in the final stages of World War II, seeing combat operations in the Western Pacific from May 1945 to August 1946 while it was stationed in the Ryukyu Islands, first on Ie Shima and later on Okinawa.

Following the war, the 34th FS was inactivated on 15 October 1946. It was redesignated the 34th Fighter-Day Squadron prior to its reactivation in November 1954, at George Air Force Base, California. It was part of the 413th Fighter-Day Group and was equipped with the North American F-86 Sabre. The 34th transitioned into the F-100 Super Sabre in 1956, which it flew until 1959, when it was again inactivated.

Vietnam War:

On 2 May 1966, the 34th FS was again activated and assigned to Pacific Air Forces. The squadron was part of the 41st Air Division at Yokota Air Base, Japan. One month later, the 34th deployed and was attached to the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. The unit was equipped with the Republic F-105 Thunderchief and conducted combat operations until May 1969. While assigned at Korat, the squadron transitioned into the McDonnell F-4 Phantom II and continued combat operations in Southeast Asia.

The Rams participated in Operation Prize Bull on 21 September 1971. This was the first time U.S. forces bombed North Vietnam using all-weather capability. The 34th Tactical Fighter Squadron performed strike missions in support of a recovery operation for the SS Mayagüez, a merchant freighter captured by Cambodian Khmer Rouge guerrillas in May 1975.

Return to the United States:

On 23 December 1975, the 34th, as part of the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing, was relocated to Hill Air Force Base, Utah, still flying the F-4D Phantom II. In November 1979, the 34th TFS became the first fighter squadron to be fully equipped with the General Dynamics F-16 Fighting Falcon. For the next several years, the squadron conducted initial qualification training for pilots from around the world, including those from Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Israel, and Norway.

Gulf War Era:

When Iraq invaded Kuwait on 2 August 1990, the 34th found itself backing up the frontline forces of the 388th Tactical Fighter Wing (Provisional) in Southwest Asia for Operation Desert Storm. The squadron flew its desert missions from Torrejon Air Base, Spain.

After the Gulf War ended in 1991, the 34th deployed in support of Operation Southern Watch. Between 1991 and 1996, the 34th FS deployed to Southwest Asia a total of five times. Several members of the 34th were injured on 25 June 1996 when the Khobar Towers housing compound was bombed.

Beginning on 16 December 1998, the 34th flew combat missions as part of Operation Desert Fox, a punitive operation aimed to make Iraq comply with United Nations sanctions.

In June 2000, the 34th was the first active duty squadron deployed to Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles in support of Operation Coronet Nighthawk, flying drug interdiction missions in Latin America.

Post 9/11

The 34th flew F-16s in combat air patrol sorties in support of Operation Noble Eagle during the 2002 Winter Olympics. In February 2003 the 34th supported Operation Noble Eagle from Langley Air Force Base, Virginia by patrolling the skies over Washington, D.C., during the height of Operation Iraqi Freedom. It flew in support of Operation Noble Eagle again in October 2009 from Hill Air Force Base.

The 34th were deployed to Balad Airbase, Iraq, twice and flew combat air patrols over the skies of Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from January to May 2005 and from May to October 2008. It also was deployed to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, from January to June 2010 to fly combat air support missions in support of the NATO ISAF in Afghanistan. The 34th was inactivated on 16 July 2010 due to military restructuring designed to save money by retiring aircraft from the active inventory.

Fly the Lightning:

The 34th was activated on 17 July 2015 with plans for it to become the first combat squadron of the 388th Fighter Wing (and the first in the U.S. Air Force) to receive the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II. The squadron was not equipped with aircraft immediately, but received its first F-35A on 2 September 2015. On 2 August 2016, the U.S. Air Force declared the 34th FS to be the first Air Force squadron to have reached initial operational capability with the F-35A.

2W151 Aircraft Armament Systems Specialist

Specialty Summary:

Loads and unloads nuclear and nonnuclear munitions, explosives, and propellant devices on aircraft. Manages, controls, maintains and installs aircraft bomb, rocket, and missile release, launch, suspension, and monitor systems; guns and gun mounts; and related munitions handling, loading, and test equipment. Related DoD Occupational Subgroup: 646.

Duties and Responsibilities:

Loads, positions, implements safing procedures, and unloads munitions. Uses handling, loading, and checkout procedures and equipment. Tests suspension, launch, and release systems for retentive locking, and manual or electrical release. Analyzes malfunctions. Performs functional checks of launch and suspension systems. Prepares munitions and inspects post loading weapons. Operates handling and loading equipment, and mates munitions with aircraft release, launch, and suspension systems. Loads and services aircraft gun systems. Tests electrical and electronic circuitry for continuity, voltage, and proper operation. Tests for unwanted electrical signal or power before connecting electrically actuated explosives and propellants. Installs ground safety devices on munition and gun system components to prevent inadvertent detonation, launching, or firing. Inserts and removes impulse cartridges associated with fuel tanks and pylons.

Adjusts and installs fuses, boosters, and delay elements in conventional munitions. Inspects, repairs, and maintains aircraft release, launch, suspension, and monitor systems; aircraft guns; and related equipment. Operates, inspects, and performs operator maintenance on related munitions handling, loading, and test equipment.

Examines for visual defects and proper installation of systems components such as munitions ejector racks, loading and suspension devices, shackles, rocket pods, pylons, aircraft ammunition, boosters, and feed chutes. Bore sights and performs after-firing inspection of aircraft guns. Examines aircraft guns for defects. Analyzes malfunctions of munitions launch, release, suspension, and monitor systems, and associated handling and loading equipment. Disassembles, repairs, or replaces mechanical, electrical, electronic, and pneudraulic mechanisms of launch and release systems, and aircraft gun systems. Removes, disassembles and inspects parts and subassemblies for damage, rust, corrosion, or acceptable clearances and tolerances. Makes adjustments and applies lubricants and preservatives. Performs serviceability tests on aircraft guns, gun systems, and munitions associated suspension equipment.

Performs armament systems maintenance functions. Modifies munitions launch, release, suspension, and monitor systems to improve efficiency. Determines probable effect of modifications on future maintenance and operational problems.

Plans, organizes and directs aircraft armament systems maintenance activities.

Establishes and evaluates performance and training standards, maintenance controls, and procedures. Checks methods and techniques used to load and unload munitions on aircraft, to repair and maintain aircraft release and gun systems, and to maintain, repair, and modify associated equipment. Ensures compliance with policies, directives, and safety procedures. Analyzes productivity and work quality. Evaluates operational efficiency of aircraft guns and munitions systems, and recommends modification.

Specialty Qualifications:

Knowledge: Electricity; principles of physics, mechanics, electronics, and ballistics applying to munitions launch, release, suspension, fusing, and arming systems, and aircraft gun systems; use of precision measuring tools and equipment; interpreting schematics and wiring diagrams; concepts and application of maintenance directives; nuclear and nonnuclear munitions loading and safety procedures; and proper handling, use, and disposal of hazardous waste and materials.

Education: For entry into this specialty, completion of high school or General Education Development equivalency is mandatory. Also, completion of courses in mechanics or basic electronics is desirable.

Mandatory Training:

AFSC 2W131X: Completion of a suffix specific basic aircraft armament systems course.

2W151: Qualification in and possession of AFSC 2W131C/D/E/F/H/K/L or Z. Also, experience loading and unloading munitions, or maintaining, repairing, and modifying munitions launch, release, suspension, or aircraft gun systems.

2W171: Qualification in and possession of AFSC 2W151. Also, experience performing or supervising functions such as loading and unloading munitions, or maintaining, repairing, and modifying munitions launch, release, suspension, or aircraft gun systems.

2W191: Qualification in and possession of AFSC 2W171. Also, experience managing and controlling functions such as loading and unloading munitions, or maintaining, repairing, and modifying munitions launch, release, suspension, or aircraft gun systems.

Mandatory Abilities:

For entry into this specialty, normal color vision as defined in AFI 48-123, Medical Examination and Standards.

For Entry, Award, and Retention of These AFSC's:

No record of emotional instability.

Normal depth perception as defined in AFI 48-123.

For award and retention of AFSCs 2W131X/51/71/91/00, eligibility for a Secret security clearance, according to AFI 31-501, Personnel Security Program Management.

Note: This job requires a Sensitive Job Code(SJC) of "F."

Specialty Shredouts:

Suffix Portion of AFSC to Which Related:
C= A10
D= F-4
E= F-15
F= F-16
H= F-111
K= B-52G/H
L= B-1B
Z= All Other

Note: Suffixes are authorized only at the 1- and 3-skill levels.​

Other Requirements:

Strength Requirement: K

Physical Profile: 333131
Citizenship: Yes
Required Aptitude Score: M-55 or E-46 (Changed to M-60 or E-45, effective 1 Jul 04).

Technical Training:

Course #: J3ABR2W131F 004 (2W1X1F)
Length (Days): 73

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