Historic bomb goes out with a bang

Historic bomb goes out with a bang

Senior Airman Kegan Schott, 2nd Munitions Squadron conventional maintenance technician, prepares M-117 General Purpose Bombs for assembly at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 8, 2017. Airmen from the 2nd MUNS production flight assembled the last 31 M-117s in the Air Force’s inventory. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Tessa B. Corrick)

Historic bomb goes out with a bang

Airman 1st Class Brandon Kiernan, 2nd Munitions Squadron conventional maintenance technician, assembles an M-117 General Purpose Bomb at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 8, 2017. The M-117 has been around since the 1950s. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Tessa B. Corrick)

Historic bomb goes out with a bang

Airman Angelica Melendez, 2nd Munitions Squadron conventional maintenance technician, reaches for an M-117 General Purpose Bomb component at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 8, 2017. The last M-117s in the Air Force inventory were assembled because of new smart bombs that will be taking their place. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Tessa B. Corrick)

Historic bomb goes out with a bang

M-117 General Purpose Bombs are set up before they are assembled for the last time at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 8, 2017. These are the last M-117s in the entire Air Force. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Tessa B. Corrick)

Historic bomb goes out with a bang

Airmen from the 2nd Munitions Squadron Production Flight assemble M-117 General Purpose Bombs at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 8, 2017. An eight person team of Barksdale’s Airmen were tasked with assembling these bombs. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Tessa B. Corrick)

Historic bomb goes out with a bang

An Airman from the 2nd Munitions Squadron Production Flight tightens a bolt on an M-117 General Purpose Bomb at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 8, 2017. The M-117s have been in the Air Force for nearly 70 years. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Tessa B. Corrick)

Historic bomb goes out with a bang

Airman 1st Class Darius Rogers, 2nd Munitions Squadron conventional maintenance technician, aligns M-117 General Purpose Bombs at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 8, 2017. The assembling process for these munitions took around four hours to complete. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Tessa B. Corrick)

Historic bomb goes out with a bang

Airmen from the 2nd Munitions Squadron Production Flight assembles M-117 General Purpose Bombs at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 8, 2017. The 2nd MUNS Production Flight supports the 2nd Bomb Wing Unit Committed Munitions List and the U.S. Navy Maritime mine-laying operations daily by assembling, disassembling, delivering, and maintaining conventional munitions. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Tessa B. Corrick)

Historic bomb goes out with a bang

The last of the M-117 General Purpose Bombs were assembled at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Nov. 8, 2017. The numbers 5-73 represent the month and year that the bomb was originally created. This bomb was manufactured around May of 1973. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Airman 1st Class Tessa B. Corrick)

BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --

Airmen from the 2nd Munitions Squadron production flight assembled the last 31 M-117 General Purpose Bomb in the Air Force’s inventory at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, Nov. 8, 2017.

The M-117 has been around since the 1950s and is going out with a bang.

“These bombs have been around since the Korean war," said Tech. Sgt. Michael Bryant, 2nd MUNS production flight conventional maintenance production superintendent. “This is very exciting for us because these are the last few M-117 in the whole Air Force.”

These bombs are retiring due to new smart bombs which are more commonly used.

“We don’t really need these bombs anymore,” Bryant said. “We have bigger, better, smarter weapons that accomplish the mission. But we can’t forget that the M-117 has played a crucial part in our military history.”

There are eight Airmen tasked with assembling these last few weapons.

“I think I can speak for the whole team when I say that we are very excited to be a part of history,” said Senior Airmen William Lawrence, 2nd MUNS production flight conventional maintenance crew chief. “We are very proud to be out here touching the last of these bombs.”

This is not Lawrence’s first encounter with an M-117.

“I was in Guam when Pacific Command got rid of their last few M-117s in 2015,” Lawrence said. “At the time, I thought that would be the last of the M-117 that I ever saw or touched. Now today is that day. We are officially closing out the chapter.”

The nearly 70 year legacy of the M-117 may be ending, but it leaves an impact and a strong message.

“By flushing the M-117 out of the Air Forces military, we are showing the enemy that we are committed to modernizing both our weapons delivery devices and our munitions to be more lethal and effective,” said Lt. Col. Mark Lahey, 2nd MUNS commander. “Today shows our progression towards the future.”