AMMO is ‘The bomb’ during RED FLAG-Alaska 16-1
By Staff Sgt. Ashley Nicole Taylor, 354th Fighter Wing Public Affiarsth Fighter Wing Public Affiars
/ Published May 19, 2016
EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska --
RED FLAG-Alaska, known for its high-operations tempo, kept members of the 354th Maintenance Squadron Aircraft Munitions Maintenance Organization shop working at a fast-pace during the first of four total exercises scheduled for this calendar year.
After weeks of preparation, AMMO successfully executed RF-A 16-1 with preparation and training.
“Our normal day-to-day operations outside of RED FLAG is making sure our munitions stockpile is always ready to go and serviceable,” said Staff Sgt. Kenneth Washington, the 354th MXS conventional maintenance munitions inspector. “We’re prepared so that when RED FLAG rolls around, we don’t hit any snags or unforeseen circumstances so that we can do what we need to do without a hitch.”
Prior to RF-A, all AMMO Airmen are properly trained and ensured by trainers that that they are qualified to handle the munitions; specifically, Mark 82 General Purpose bombs for this mission.
“Once outside personnel arrive on station our guys need to be experts,” said Washington. “Some of the Airmen from other bases that come here might not be from a shop that allows them to work with bombs, so we must be on top of our game to make sure everything goes out safely.”
Within AMMO, different shops work like a distant assembly line, from storage, to building, then loading, each playing a critical part to safely transport the munition and ensure it leaves the aircraft without any discrepancies.
“Essentially, we are the ‘meat and potatoes’ of AMMO. We get all the components ready for the fighter jets, whether it is for our F-16 Fighting Falcons or any jets that are here for TDY operations,” explained Washington. “We get the munitions ready, we get the bombs, assemble them and ensure it is transported safely.”
To support the amount of munitions that needed to be assembled, units sent members from their AMMO shops to assist Eielson’s team.
“I love being here because I get hands-on the bombs again,” said Master Sgt. Anthonio Dais, the 8th MXS NCO in charge of precision guided missiles assigned to Kunsan Air Base, Republic of South Korea. “We brought ten of our guys from home to stay through RED FLAG and Northern Edge. My only wish for future exercises is to bring more of our people over so they can learn in this rapid environment.”