MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. —
Thousands of pounds of munitions are stored behind a barbed-wire fence here in a place called “Ammo Country.”
Within these confines are the 23rd Maintenance Squadron’s munition inspection professionals who are responsible for a $54 million stockpile. With their inspection, packaging and upkeep procedures, they enhance Moody’s combat capabilities by providing safe and serviceable ammo.
“Without ammo, the warfighting effort would not happen for the Air Force,” said Air Force Tech Sgt. John Beeson, 23rd Maintenance Squadron munitions inspector. “All the way from pilots to battlefield airmen, it is our responsibility to make sure they have the sufficient munitions necessary to get their jobs done.
“When a pilot drops a bomb, they expect it to perform,” he continued. “We are often the first and last line of defense when it comes to ensuring airmen receive quality munitions.”
The squadron’s airmen are required to follow technical orders to complete their tasks, but munition inspectors have to take extra measures when dealing with explosives.
Essential to Operations
“Assurance of munitions reliability is essential to effective air and ground operations,” Beeson said. “Our shop performs continuous testing, analysis and quality assurance procedures such as serial number verification, structural damage examination and proper assembly. We can go from inspecting 100 crates of bullets to one joint direct attack munition at any time.”
Munition inspectors have to follow detailed instructions and measures because the consequences of a botched inspection can result in a loss of life.
“Mistakes are unacceptable in this career field, which is why safety and taking the necessary precautions is paramount when dealing with any munition,” said Air Force Senior Airman Travis Nelson, another munition inspector. “If one of our inspectors fails to perform at their very best there could be loss of equipment, injury to personnel or even death.”
The goal of the munitions flight is provide serviceable ammo and ensure confidence for their customers.
“It’s very important to have serviceable munitions to train with on a day-to-day basis,” said Air Force 1st Lt. Laney Schol, a 74th Fighter Squadron A-10C Thunderbolt II pilot. “We can’t train to deploy without ammo, and training is where we build the confidence to complete our mission downrange.”
The reward of having customers like Schol confident and dependent on their services makes their hazardous mission gratifying.
“It feels good to know that when we do our jobs correctly, Moody’s airmen will be able to train to complete their missions downrange,” Nelson said. “When we inspect ammo, we understand the responsibility that comes with it, and that pushes us to do even better.”