JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. —
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.
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.
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."
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
“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
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.
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
‘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’.
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.
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.”