The largest non-nuclear bomb to be used in combat has a Gulf Coast connection. In March of 2003, the GBU-43/b or MOAB, Massive Ordinance Air Burst bomb, was first tested at Eglin Air Force Base.
Also called “The Mother Of All Bombs”, the 11-ton bomb was dropped on Range 70 at Eglin on March 11, 2003, and November 21, 2003. It was a massive display of power, dropped for the world to see around 1PM on a Tuesday afternoon. These are the only know uses of the bomb before today’s first-ever combat deployment.
On Thursday, tourists at the Air Force Armament Museum learned more about the MOAB. Some were visiting by coincidence the day the bomb was first used in combat.
“It was kind of surprising cause we were on the bus and were just noticing on the news,” said Javier Garcia, a member of JROTC from Madison, Alabama. “Woah, this is happening. It’s kind of surprising that it’s just happening right now.”
The two tests in Eglin AFB were the only known uses of the bomb before it was dropped in Afghanistan.
One retired military member thanked President Trump and says this day is long overdue.
“I’m just happy that I voted for him,” said Enoch Williams, who is retired military from Eglin AFB. “This should have been done a long time ago. We’ve had the capability for some time and we’ve just been pussyfooting around a little bit.”
Another former military member who was a weapons loader walked about the replica bomb, commenting that it’s larger than most bombs by over 10,000 pounds. She expressed a sense of pride that her former base, her home, developed the Mother of All Bombs.
“You would never know that just right down the street from you that something like that could be going on,” said Tiffany Waller, who lives in Crestview. “So it’s pretty cool.”
Even though the museum closed at 4:30 in the afternoon, dozens of people have come to visit the replica of the MOAB, sitting right outside the doors of the armament museum, just miles from where it was first tested. They posed for pictures and selfies. Some hugged the MOAB, others stood in front of it, holding up the peace sign.