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Munitions flight performs semi-annual munitions stockpile inventory

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Daira Jackson
  • 386 AEW Public Affairs

The munitions flight of the 386th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron began their semi-annual 100% stockpile inventory to account for assets worth an estimated $109 million on base Jan. 26.

The munitions flight has the responsibility to ensure the correct munitions, configurations and serviceability for the C-130s, so they are ready to go at a moment’s notice.

“Our munitions arsenal is a national treasure,” said Master Sgt. John Bozeman, munitions accountable systems officer, 386th EMXS. “So our job is to be good stewards of it. We take care of the arsenal, so it’s mission ready all the time.”

Managing the multi-million-dollar munitions stockpile and executing daily air tasking orders is no easy feat. Bozeman’s challenges include being flexible in a combat zone, balancing emerging requirements and leading his team through complex and ambiguous circumstances to accomplish the mission.

There are 23 personnel that manage all the munitions for the base’s area of operations within the theater.

“We manage munitions for the whole base,” said Bozeman, a North Carolina native deployed from the 1st Munitions Squadron, Langley Air Force Base in Virginia. “So we do it for Explosive Ordnance Disposal, our Security Forces personnel [and] our Military Working Dog teams. If it goes boom or provides lethality, we do it, so it's so much more than just the aircraft.”

To keep track of the large inventory, the munitions flight uses a variety of systems from the Theater Integrated Combat Munitions System to Munitions Command and Control programs.

Part of the inventory includes inspecting chaff and flares for the C-130J Super Hercules. Chaff is a type of countermeasure that provides a radar signature to divert radar-guided missiles to the jet. Flares are designed to stop heat-seeking surface-to-air missiles or air-to-air missiles from being able to target the aircraft. Chaff and flares go into a housing module in the aircraft and keep it safe in the sky from adversaries.

“We pretty much hold all the assets, munitions wise,” said Airman 1st Class Collin Frane, munitions crew chief, 386th EMXS Munitions Flight. “We're the ones replenishing munitions being used. If they didn't get replenished, they wouldn't be able to fly because then they wouldn't have anything to take missiles or other aircraft off their tail.”

The 386th EMXS/MXMW provides 24-hour munitions support to all flying operations and consists of five sections: Munitions Operations, Conventional Maintenance, Stockpile Surveillance, Equipment Maintenance and Flightline Delivery.

“This job makes me feel proud,” said Frane, who deployed from the 49th Equipment Maintenance Squadron at Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo, New Mexico. “We play a pretty big [role in the mission]. It makes me feel proud to be in this job and in the Air Force.”

In addition to taking care of the U.S. Air Force munitions, the 386th EMXS/MXMW also supports the Italian Air Force, the Danish Army, and the Canadian Air Force on base.

“Coalition work has been amazing,” said Bozeman. “My favorite thing about my job is working day in and day out with some amazing professionals in this United States Air Force. The people, to me, is my favorite part.”

The 386th EMXS/MXMW inventories their stockpile at least twice a year and their munitions custodian accounts quarterly. Taking inventory is ongoing to ensure they have full accountability of all of their assets.

“I feel like I got one of the best jobs on Earth and I have such a direct impact with the mission,” said Bozeman. “It provides me purpose and really gives me a sense of meaning to serve.”