Two Bulldogs Graduate from the Elite U.S. Air Force Weapons School

Maj. Nathan “Shaggy” Aysta was awarded the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, F-16, Class 11A “Flying Award” for demonstrating excellent instructor performance in brief, execution, and debrief throughout the course during the Weapons School graduation in Las Vegas, Nev. on Saturday, June 11, 2011.

Maj. Nathan “Shaggy” Aysta was awarded the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, F-16, Class 11A “Flying Award” for demonstrating excellent instructor performance in brief, execution, and debrief throughout the course during the Weapons School graduation in Las Vegas, Nev. on Saturday, June 11, 2011.

Maj. Nathan “Shaggy” Aysta is awarded the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, F-16, Class 11A “Flying Award” for demonstrating excellent instructor performance in brief, execution, and debrief throughout the course during the Weapons School graduation in Las Vegas, Nev. on Saturday, June 11, 2011.

Maj. Nathan “Shaggy” Aysta is awarded the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, F-16, Class 11A “Flying Award” for demonstrating excellent instructor performance in brief, execution, and debrief throughout the course during the Weapons School graduation in Las Vegas, Nev. on Saturday, June 11, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mr. Mark Haines.)

Capt. James Grandaw, 148th Fighter Wing, graduates from the U.S. Air Force Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. June 11, 2011.  Capt. Grandaw is the first intelligence officer from the 148th Fighter Wing to graduate from Weapons School.

Capt. James Grandaw, 148th Fighter Wing, graduates from the U.S. Air Force Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. June 11, 2011. Capt. Grandaw is the first intelligence officer from the 148th Fighter Wing to graduate from Weapons School. (U.S. Air Force photo by Mr. Mark Haines.)

Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. -- On June 11, a piece of history was made at the 148th Fighter Wing and Minnesota National Guard--two 148th Fighter Wing members graduated from Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Capt. James Grandaw, the first intelligence officer, and Maj. Nathan Aysta, the second pilot, earned the distinguished and highly-respected title of Weapons Instructor Course graduates.

Maj. Aysta was also awarded the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, F-16, Class 11A "Flying Award" for demonstrating excellent instructor performance in brief, execution, and debrief throughout the course.

The U.S. Air Force Weapons School, an elite school that teaches graduate-level instructor academics and flying courses, provides the world's most advanced training in weapons, tactics and systems employment to officers of the combat and mobility air forces. Once completed, students are considered leaders and expert instructors across all Air Force operated weapons systems and are one of only a select few who can call themselves Weapons School graduates.

While competition to get into Weapons School is fierce, preparing for and completing the course are even tougher. It takes students months to prepare and once at school, they can work up to 18-hour days during their nearly six months of training learning and applying their newly gained knowledge to demanding combat training missions. To graduate, students must demonstrate their mastery of their specific field and be able to instruct it, as well as demonstrate their ability to integrate every Air Force weapons system to tactical and strategic objective. This can be a daunting task for many.

With the graduation of Capt. Grandaw and Maj. Aysta, the 148th Fighter Wing has distinguished itself with the unique capabilities of having both an Intel officer and pilots who are trained Weapons School graduates. As the Wing is currently in the middle of its conversion to the block 50 and Supression of Enemy Air Defense (SEAD) mission, the new Weapons School graduates' education and experience will prove to be a great asset during the conversion and going forward.