Out with the old, in with the new

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Reynaldo Ramon
  • 18 WING Public Affairs
Replacing cold war munitions with the latest weaponry was the focus of a U.S. Transportation Command exercise here, June 21-22.

The Turbo Containerized Ammunition Distribution System 07, also known as TURBOCADS, tested munitions units from Okinawa, Guam, Sasebo and South Korea.
In Okinawa, military units conducted a joint service exercise to help resolve unforeseeable problems shipping munitions. "We started planning six months ago," said Master Sgt. James Lachapelle, 18th MUNS Materiel Flight superintendent.

The USTRANSCOM exercise proved to be opportune in terms of timing due to the need to replace high maintenance assets that are still viable, but taking up critical storage space.

"Were constantly shifting old out, new in," Sergeant Lachapelle said.

During the exercise, the 18th MUNS Squadron received seven shipped containers carrying new War Reserve Material, consisting of chaff and flare countermeasures, some of which are used by the F-22.

"The exercise was a chance for the major command to call forward or beddown munitions in certain key locations," said Sergeant Lachapelle.

The main focus of the exercise involved the transportation of munitions by sea. The Motor Vessel Global Patriot ship offloaded and unloaded munitions for all services here in Okinawa.

"It's cheaper this way if your shipping by bulk quantity, you can't put as many weapons in an aircraft," said Master Sgt. Michael King, 18th MUNS Inspection Section chief.

Okinawan Army Contractors, also called steveadores, from the 835th Transportation Battalion, stood by the pier as a massive crane lifted containers off the ship, June 21. Once grounded, the forklift moved the containers for inspection.

"If it's an Air Force, Marine, Navy, or Army can, we look at it and make sure it is safe," said Marine Staff Sgt. Cecilio Rodriguez, pier safety loading officer.

After the containers were considered safe, they were loaded onto trucks and distributed to their respective areas.

The 18th MUNS was also allotted 50 containers to ship older munitions back to the states. The munitions stocks being replaced are older missile systems, 80's versions of guided bomb units, and other legacy components dating back to the Vietnam era. Their final destination for storage will be the Army and Air Force Depot in the continental U.S.

This container movement exercise also helped Airmen gain hands-on training and understanding of a real world mission.

Sergeant Lachapelle said, "It's an exercise in moving ammunition the way we would during war time operations and the 18th Munitions Squadron is good at it!"