MARINE CORPS AIR STATION MIRAMAR, Calif. -- Ordnance Marines with Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA(AW)) 225 “Vikings” conducted high-explosive ordnance loading training at the combat aircraft loading area aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., July 29.
Ordnance Marines in the squadron trained to hone their skills of loading LAU-10 rockets and MK-82 low-drag bombs on F/A-18 Hornets.
“The training is important because it allows us to be [expeditious],” said Cpl. Philip Basti, an ordnance quality assurance safety observer with VMFA(AW)-225 and a Winter Springs, Fla., native. “You get used to a high-tempo environment and being ready to load various families of ordnance at a moment’s notice.”
The Vikings’ ordnance Marines also held a significant role in the pilots’ qualifications during the training.
“The pilots are working on their qualifications to perform certain training missions and to fly that kind of ordnance in combat,” said Basti. “Our job is so important because the pilots need to have these qualifications to be able to fly these weapons effectively in combat and provide close-air support for our brothers on the ground.”
These Marines use required publications with step-by-step instructions to conduct system checks on all aircraft before loading any ordnance.
They also make sure the aircraft can support and safely drop the ordnance, added Basti.
Teamwork is an essential component when it comes to loading ordnance, not only because the bombs can range from 500 to 1,500 pounds, but because there always needs to be a second set of eyes during the process.
“You can’t load any ordnance by yourself,” said Basti. “One can load ordnance or perform an ordnance evolution without a quality assurance safety observer there to verify it’s being done properly and safely.”
The Marines of the Vikings’ ordnance shop plans to continue to ensure every aircraft is ready to provide air support for any mission, anytime.