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NEWS | Nov. 8, 2016

Munitions Airmen ensure combat airpower success

By Airman 1st Class Kaylee Dubois 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

1st Maintenance Squadron’s munitions flight Airmen make potential impacts at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia every day, building weapons needed for successful combat airpower.

Munitions Airmen provide support to the F-22 Raptor mission, in addition to supporting the missions of security forces, explosive ordinance disposal or the Office of Special Investigations. The productions, materials and systems sections within the munitions flight help provide services base wide.

“Without Ammo, the fighter jets and bombers are just another aircraft, just another plane,” said U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Carl Slater, 1st MXS munitions flight assistant NCO in charge. “Ammo plays a huge role in what our jets and bombers do in order to succeed in the mission.”

More than 170 technicians within the munitions flight are tasked with assembling, testing, repairing, and maintaining ammunition daily, including building chaff and flare, which are countermeasures that help keep the pilot’s safe while in flight.

In order to ensure not only the pilot’s safety but the safety of the Airmen too, the team participates in weekly training, as well as an annual two day class with hands-on training to keep the munitions Airmen proficient while working with live ammunition in the field.

“Safety is paramount out here,” said Staff Sgt. David Quinones, 1st MXS munitions flight supervisor. “We don’t do a single job without technical orders. Somewhere it is written in an Air Force Instruction exactly what we will do, if it doesn’t say it we won’t do it. That’s how meticulous our job can be.”

Although located far away from high-traffic areas, a sign reading, “Welcome to Ammo Country” placed perfectly to greet visitors, shows that Ammo does not lack in pride or camaraderie.

“We are a tight knit group over here,” said Slater. “Our job is dangerous and can be quite stressful, but we take pride in what we do.”