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NEWS | Aug. 29, 2018

If you ain’t ammo, you ain’t … in the fammoly

By Airman 1st Class Anthony Nin Leclerec 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

As the radar-evading, fifth generation fighter supercruises through the sky, the pilot secures the enemy in his sights; he presses the button and the munitions bay opens, followed by the deafening sound of silence.


“Without ‘ammo’ the Air Force would just be an expensive flying club,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Michael Brown, 1st Maintenance Squadron munitions storage crew chief. “I’m not saying we are the sole part of getting the F-22 in the air and taking out bad guys, but I’d say we play a crucial part.”


In tech school, the Airmen get an overview of what ammo does as a whole. In eight weeks they scratch at the surface of what the career field carries out for the mission.


There are many shops in ‘ammo’, but all work toward one goal.


"The F-22 is lethal because of the munitions flight,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Burton Field, 1st Maintenance Squadron commander. “The ‘ammo’ Airmen are trained, motivated, and proud. They make the mission possible."


According to Brown, ‘ammo’ Airmen are slowly molded and developed by leadership to meet what the Air Force needs through the crawl, walk and run phases much like a parent would.


“They know one day they're not going to be here; they're going to retire and need to pass on what they know,” Brown said. “So then you have to have the knowledge to give somebody else.”


From precision guided missiles for the F-22 Raptor to the bullets for security forces defenders, anything that goes bang, boom, is managed by the munitions flight.


“The most important skill one must have here is attention to detail because a mistake could either kill you or not kill the bad guy,” Brown said. “If I don’t do my job correctly someone else can't do their job correctly down the road.”


As an Airman in ‘ammo’ you are moved from shop to shop during your career. Through on the job training, Airmen learn all aspects of the job, sometimes working in one shop at home station and deploying with a different shop.


“We’re like a small town,” Brown said. “You start with a core group of friends, but all in all, everybody is always helping somebody and you pretty much get to know everyone.”


Even though ‘ammo’ is part of the 1st Fighter Wing’s, 1st Maintenance Squadron, they are located in what many at Joint Base Langley-Eustis know as Ammo Country. But even if they can’t see them, their brothers on the flightline know they can always count on ‘fammoly’.


According to Brown, it’s a culture of looking out for and depending on one another. Being out there by themselves, they learn to lean on one another not just for work but also the day to day.


“We’re always together, doing something, out at someone’s house barbecuing or helping with someone’s car,” Brown said. “We call it a ‘fammoly’, it sounds kind of cliché but we’re a tight-knit group.”