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.

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“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.”

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Managing editor

Chris Huber is the managing editor at the Rapid City Journal.