Monday, December 21, 2009

Weapons school grad marks a first

Weapons school grad marks a first

By Maj. Gabe Johnson
Arizona National Guard

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Maj. Tammy Barlette gets familiar with an MQ-9 Reaper at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. She is the first Air National Guard unmanned aircraft pilot to graduate from the Air Force's Weapons Instructor Course. She is assigned to the Arizona Air National Guard's 214th Reconnaissance Group at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. (Courtesy photo)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (12/17/09) -- An Air National Guard MQ-1 Predator pilot marked the beginning of a new era Dec. 12 as the first unmanned aircraft pilot from a reserve component to graduate from the Air Force Weapons Instructor Course at the U.S. Air Force Weapons School here.

Maj. Tammy Barlette, from the Arizona Air National Guard's 214th Reconnaissance Group based at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, completed the five-and-a-half month course along with three active duty UA pilots. They were the first to attend the school in its 60-year history.

The school, regarded as having the U.S. Air Force's premier weapons and tactics training program, provides graduate-level instructor academic and flying courses. Its graduates are regarded as top authorities in their respective fields.

"I've been through a lot of training but nothing as difficult as this," said Barlette, a former A-10 Thunderbolt II pilot who left active duty to fly Predators over Iraq and Afghanistan full time with the Air Guard.

"The course is intended to make you the best instructor you can be for your squadron, weapon system and the Air Force," she said. "They teach you how to get to the root of a problem and find solutions. It's constant studying, briefing and flying."...

Read the rest of this great story here.

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