Birdseye view of bombs on target
By Range Day Observer, 35th Fighter Wing
/ Published July 09, 2013
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan --
I have been in the Air Force for over twenty years. So, when my wife asked me if I wanted to attend the 35th Operations Group Range day at Misawa, I wasn't excited, but then thought, a day at the Range must be better than a day stuck in an office.
We started out by heading to the base theatre on Misawa. The weather was windy and cloudy as we walked in with other family members of the OG family. Once inside, we were given a briefing by the commander of the 35th Operation Support Squadron, Lt. Col. David Lyons. He stated the objectives of the day, and gave us a safety briefing for the Draughon Range. I slumped in my chair, and thought "got it, safety, safety, safety, when's the BBQ?"
When we got done with the briefing, we headed out on buses. I looked up at the clouds and asked myself, "Are the pilots from the 13th and 14th Fighter Squadrons skilled enough to deal with weather, and put bombs on target? We'll see."
The Draughon Range seemed primitive as we drove in. There were some old tires and anti-air-artillery as targets and overgrown grass. As we headed toward the storage shed, we saw people talking on radios, people in the tower, and public affairs setting up their equipment. If anyone hadn't figured out yet how they fell into the Air Force mission, they would after today.
Lt. Col. Lyons announced that the tour of the Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape (SERE) site was about to begin. Just after the announcement, an F-16 came under the clouds for a weather check. Everyone looked to see if the pilots would get the go ahead to drop practice bombs; they did, thank you, weather!
The tour of the SERE area was an eye opener; there were 2-3 shelters setup to show how pilots keep dry from the elements and from getting captured by the enemy. I can't imagine having to eject with unfriendlies below me, and running a checklist through my head as I descend, to remember what to do first.
I watched camo paint being applied to some of the kids, as the SERE instructors explained to them why they do this...you couldn't help but think, this is the next AF generation being camo'd up.
After we finished up with the SERE instructors, it was back to the range, to see if the weather was still holding up. It was announced that the ceiling was still good, and it was time to drop bombs.
Everyone headed to the tower and a hill just in front of the tower to get a bird's eye of view of the jets. We heard the call over the radio, "cleared hot."
The first three plane formation came rolling in, I had actually never seen a bomb launched from an F-16 or any other fighter in our arsenal; it was impressive to say the least. Watching the dirt fly into the air as the bomb hit, filled every kid of all ages with awe.
As the turkey shoot between the 13 and 14 FSs went on, no one paid attention to the weather anymore, they just wanted to know where the next plane was, and if the pilot they picked hit the target.
We finished the day by having a good old fashioned BBQ in the storage shed. As my wife and myself sat there talking, they announced the jets were coming in for a "show of force." There was nothing better than the sound of freedom ending our day at the Range.
The next time my wife asks me if I want to spend the day at the Range, this kid will run past her with camo paint in hand.