CAPEX tests Wolf Packs combat readiness

by Tech. Sgt. Jeff Andrejcik, 8th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
Stripes Korea

KUNSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The art of war is a dynamic entity influenced by Airmen who hone their craft and apply it to the battlefield.

Within the ammo community, the Combat Ammunition Production Exercise is a canvas they use to enhance their ability to build and produce munitions in support of combat sorties.

From June 5-9, munitions teams from across U.S. Pacific Air Forces and two Air National Guard units will execute live munitions building processes and procedures to optimize results in real-world situations.

“[CAPEX] tests our ability to produce munitions and also ensure we have the ability to support the combatant commander down range,” said Master Sgt. Daniel Ficken, CAPEX production section supervisor.

From the time flight schedules and air tasking orders drop, Airmen race the clock to produce combat loads before aircraft are ready to take off.

Evaluators from several bases in PACAF and two Air National Guard units were on hand to inspect each phase of the exercise. Those phases included force integration, maintaining air tasking order requirements and ensuring receipt as well as break down of munitions.

“There’s a feeling of exhilaration coming into this knowing that I’m here to build bombs and get the job done,” said Staff Sgt. Kelvin Lafferty, CAPEX conventional maintenance crew member. “I love feeling like I am a part of something bigger and knowing that what I do every day contributes to the safety of America and our allies.”

This exercise revolves around generating fire power. The approximately 350 Airmen participating in CAPEX are responsible for bringing that essential component to the wings combat arsenal.

Without it, F-16 Fighting Falcons here would be unable to project the force they are capable of.

“We are important to the mission because without munitions all we would have is just planes flying around,” said Lafferty. “It’s simple, without ammo you could not take down the enemy.”

According to Lafferty, the training translates into efficient execution, producing a positive readiness posture and ensuring the Wolf Pack can perform its mission against any volatile threat.

Over the last 30 days Kunsan hosted a PACAF-wide annual weapons load competition and now CAPEX. Two major weapons events showing the wings capability to produce munitions at a rapid pace.

As the largest ammo exercise on the peninsula, CAPEX coupled with the weapons load competition bolsters readiness, delivering versed Airmen who are prepared to respond when called upon.

“When we have Airmen with little to no experience, and then expose them to different types of bomb building, it increases our total force readiness quite a bit,” said Ficken. “Bringing together Guard, Reserve and Active Duty is valuable because we are exposed to each other’s philosophies, which brings a whole different outlook to the mission.”

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