And once a year, the 450 best missile and bomb operators show off their skills at the Global Strike Challenge.
It s all about dexterity and speed — from moving warheads by forklift to dropping bombs on specified targets.
Photographer Andrew Hetherington got to see the expertise up close two years ago at the Whitman Air Force Base in Missouri on assignment for New York Magazine.
He documented the two Whiteman weapons loading teams as they assembled, prepared, and loaded bombs onto aircraft.
You re around something technologically stunning, that s also a death machine.
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