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AATTC instructors teach 240th class

Master Sgt. Rick Rick Karlslyst, defensive systems instructor for the Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center, turns on a chaff flare tester at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Mo., Jan. 31, 2012. Karlslyst teaches aircraft maintenance Airmen how to properly handle and load chaff flares for various types of aircraft. (Missouri Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Crane)

Master Sgt. Rick Rick Karlslyst, defensive systems instructor for the Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center, turns on a chaff flare tester at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Mo., Jan. 31, 2012. Karlslyst teaches aircraft maintenance Airmen how to properly handle and load chaff flares for various types of aircraft. (Missouri Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Crane)

Tech Sgt. Scott Johnson, defensive systems instructor for the Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center, holds a chaff flare at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Mo., Jan. 31, 2012. Johnson teaches aircraft maintenance Airmen how to properly handle and load chaff flares for various types of aircraft. (Missouri Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Crane)

Tech Sgt. Scott Johnson, defensive systems instructor for the Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center, holds a chaff flare at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Mo., Jan. 31, 2012. Johnson teaches aircraft maintenance Airmen how to properly handle and load chaff flares for various types of aircraft. (Missouri Air National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Michael Crane)

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- Two defensive systems instructors for the Advanced Airlift Tactics Training Center here recently completed their 240th class since the mid-1990s, and have now taught more than 900 other weapons instructors how to safely load chaff flares on C-130 cargo aircraft.

Master Sgt. Rick Karlslyst and Tech Sgt. Scott Johnson of the AATTC have been teaching the proper procedures in the classroom here and "downrange" at Ft. Huachuca, Ariz., for 16 and 15 years, respectively. In a typical year these days, they teach the class - called Weapons Task Qualification Manager training, 13 times.

"That's 13 trips to Huachuca," Johnson said. "There's a lot of travel in the job, between staying current and teaching the classes...but I enjoy it."

"It's a 'train the trainer' program," Karlslyst said. "And it is an annual requirement. So some of those 900 guys are repeats, but they then go back to their shops and teach the class to their weapons guys...so it has a bigger impact."

Chaff flares can heat up in excess of 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Karlslyst said something as small as a static electricity spark can set them off. So proper loading onto the C-130 platform is critically important.

The AATTC course teaches all Guard managers, plus any active duty or reserve who apply if slots are available.

Johnson said it makes sense to have the class as a part of the AATTC, because pilots can be tested under stress how to properly deploy them. Both men said they truly enjoy the teaching and couldn't imagine doing anything else.

"I haven't dusted off my resume since the Eighties," Johnson chuckled.