Warhawks graduate from USAFWS

  • Published
  • By Charles J. Haymond
  • 55th Wing Public Affairs

Four 55th Wing Warhawks graduated from the U.S. Air Force Weapons School June, 15, 2024, at Ceaser’s Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The USAFWS is a 23-week graduate level instructor course that trains tactical experts and leaders on how to control air, space and cyberspace on behalf of the joint force.

“Graduates are leaders, technical experts, advisors, and instructors in their combat specialty,” said Capt. David Ward, 8th Weapons School cadre. “They return to their assigned units as leaders and mentors in tactical employment and integration of air, space and cyberspace power, as well as operations across the joint forces.”

During this course, the weapons instructor course undergraduates learn leadership, communication skills, and weapons tactics knowledge. This course sharpens their combat capabilities skills and further aids them in their Air Force careers.

“I applied to the course because I knew it would be the best opportunity to keep growing as an instructor and as a leader within our community,” said Capt. Dawson Wiginton, 95th Reconnaissance Squadron flight commander. “We have an amazing group of Weapons Officers within the 55th Wing that I respect, and I wanted the opportunity to receive the training that they had.”

According to the four 55th Wing graduates, taking this course became difficult but the support from the school’s leadership and encouragement from other students pushed them to not quit.

“Quitting was not an option,” said Capt. Thomas Lee, 42nd Electronic Combat Squadron flight commander. “The mantra of there is nothing in this 24-hour day that will make me quit and the constant support from my leadership, other Weapons Officers in my community, and family/friends kept me sane.”

Col. Mark Howard, 55th Wing commander, congratulated the new instructors after their graduation on their accomplishments.

“I’m proud of the Warhawks who graduated from the weapons school course,” Howard said. “I know they are equipped for continued success against the pacing threat from our adversaries and will sustain the 55th Wing’s warfighting capabilities.”

Lee had a final message to pass onto those desiring to take the course.

“If you find yourself going through the program, my best piece of advice is don’t quit. Make it to Friday, get your chicken tenders at the club, and commiserate with your classmates,” Lee said. “You will always have that to look forward to after a grueling week.”

Every six months, the school graduates approximately 100 Weapons Officers and enlisted specialists who are tactical system experts, weapons instructors and leaders of Airmen.