No mission without ammo: MUNS Airmen epitomize fight tonight readiness
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- They are the bullets in the gun, the missiles on the aircraft and the career field that keep Team Osan ready to fight tonight.
The 51st Munitions Squadron is comprised of 85 different facilities that house multiple sections such as pre-load, control, storage and precision guided munitions. Located at the farthest reaches of the base (for safety reasons) their presence may be overlooked but never their contributions.
"We enable everyone else to fight," said Tech. Sgt. DanCarlos Edwards, 51st MUNS munitions storage shift lead. "Whether it be the cops, the pilots, even the maintainers, then can't really do much of anything without ammo."
Munitions Airmen are responsible for building, storing, maintaining, inspecting and delivering everything from 2,000 pound bunker busters to the blanks used by security forces Airmen during exercises.
"Anything you can imagine, we have it," said Edwards, "Bombs, bullets basically everything that goes boom."
Small-arms ammunition like the 9mm, to the lager 30mm for the GAU-8 Avenger rotary canon on the A-10 Thunderbolt II, even 105 mm for the M102 howitzer on the AC 130U Spooky, are stored in special bunkers on base. MUNS also provides courtesy storage for the Army's quick-access munitions in their high security-buildings along with pallets of other fight tonight assets all kept ready 24-7.
Munitions control Airmen provide all the planning, directing and controlling of squadron activities by coordinating with support, maintenance and emergency-response agencies to ensure effective use of the assets. They are responsible for the safety and security of 350 personnel working, in four geographically separated areas of the base that cover more than 217 acres of land.
The breadth of this operation is made necessary by the inherent dangers involved in performing a job where everything is designed to cause damage. As the Airmen assemble various bomb components, attaching the nose, tail and running fuses they have to be mindful of the sensitivity of the devices to radio signals and electricity. Those sensitivities require MUNS Airmen to establish maximum safe distance evacuation points and safety briefings at the beginning of every shift.
"You've got to be really careful out here because it is such a dangerous job. Everything [can] blow up," said Senior Airman Jonathan Gaillard, 51st MUNS munitions crew chief. "I like my job. It's something that helps the mission.
"I feel like a really big part of the mission; I'm contributing to the Air Force. I feel like I have an impact."
Edwards calls this feeling of accomplishment AMMO pride.
"AMMO has the most pride, the most camaraderie," he said. "AMMO is the backbone of what the Air Force is."
Munitions are what turn airplanes from reconnaissance sources to war fighters, without them there would be no dominant force in the air and no fight tonight.