Airmen at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., partnered with several U.S. Navy minesmen June 2 through 7 during a joint training mission to exercise the B-1B Lancer’s capabilities in deploying Navy mines.
The 28th Munitions Squadron members teamed up with midshipmen from the Naval Munitions Command Seal Beach for the first time to assist in building, loading and deploying Mk-62 and Mk-65 Quick Strike mines.
“It was definitely a good experience,” said Staff Sgt. Raymond Elmendorf, 28th MUNS conventional maintenance crew chief and munitions inspector. “I had never worked with the Navy before … but it was good to build that camaraderie. When we were out there building [mines], it wasn’t really just Air Force [and] Navy … [it was much more] of a team.”
The midshipmen primarily focused on the building of Mk-62s and Mk-65s, while the Airmen from Ellsworth concentrated more on loading the mines into the aircraft.
“Working with the Air Force wasn’t all that different for us, especially since we do this all the time,” said U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Jeremy Frick. “We worked really well with the Airmen who took part in this build. They made it easy for us to build, load and wait for deployment of our mines.”
While the Air Force does not routinely build Navy munitions, Ellsworth demonstrated it possesses the capabilities and the personnel to deploy Navy mines.
“If we had the technical guidance, we could definitely build it too,” said Elmendorf.
The experience was beneficial to all Airmen involved, said Elmendorf, who added this kind of training had not been performed for several years. Unique training opportunities give everyone a chance to build upon skills and become familiar with different munitions.
The multi-mission B-1B is the backbone of America’s long-range bomber force, carrying the largest payload of both guided and unguided weapons in the Air Force inventory, including Naval mines. It can rapidly deliver massive quantities of precision and non-precision weapons against any adversary, anywhere in the world, at any time.
“If we are called upon to work alongside Airmen to, we’ll be ready,” said Frink. “You don’t want to have to be in a situation where you have to deploy mines, but if the threat is there, you want to know you and everyone you are working with knows what they’re doing.”