Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Hird, 325th Maintenance Squadron conventional maintenance munitions inspector, and Airman 1st Class Matthew Aikens, 325th MXS conventional maintenance crew chief, begin to move munitions from one trailer to another. (U.S. Air Force photo Staff Sgt. Rachelle Elsea)
Staff Sgt. Colby Holmes, 325th Maintenance Squadron munitions storage crew chief, and Senior Airman Bennett Seymour, 325th MXS munitions storage crew member, store small arms and pepper spray in one of several storage facilities. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rachelle Elsea)
The 325th Maintenance Squadron munitions flight stores $83 million in weapons which are not only supplied to Tyndall, but also Pensacola Naval Air Station, Fla., Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. and Kessler Air Force Base, Miss. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Rachelle Elsea)
by Staff Sgt. Rachelle Elsea
325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
9/27/2012 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- With Tyndall transitioning from Air Education and Training Command to Air Combat Command, change is all around, and the base's munitions flight is no exception.
"Our mission is to receive, store, and maintain a wide variety of munitions to support both flying units and ground operations," said Capt. Arne Gjere, 325th Maintenance Squadron munitions flight commander, "We also support the Weapons Systems Evaluation Program with a unique mission of configuring telemetry equipped missiles for live fires."
Their duties, already weighted with responsibility, will continue to amplify with the base's major command switch.
"The ops tempo will increase," said Captain Gjere. "We will gain a mobility requirement to support exercises and real-world deployments. The other ops tempo increase will be in the local training required to support deployments and the aircraft at deployed locations. The difference for this transition and added fighter unit is we are not replacing or moving another mission ... we simply add an additional mission."
Due to the foreseen operations tempo increase, the unit is expected to receive a significant amount of new personnel as well as transitioning into a Total Force Integration unit.
"Today we have about 130 active duty Airmen and three civilians," said Chief Master Sgt. Timothy Ouzts, 325th Maintenance Squadron munitions flight chief "As we transition to ACC and personnel arrive to support the new mission, our end strength will be 216 active duty, four Air Reserve technicians, 11 traditional Reservist and our three civilians."
The amount of munitions will not take on as big of a transformation.
"The equipment change is not largely due to the fact we have extra equipment already in-place for the WSEP mission and residual equipment from the F-15 Eagle movement a few years ago," said Captain Gjere. "We expect more air-to-ground munitions to arrive with the new combat-coded F-22 Raptors to support training. Finally, we'll have an influx of mobility equipment to move the unit as required."
The munitions current stock is not only used for aircraft within the base, but also for use by other installations.
"Our munitions stockpile is always fluctuating due to the various missions here at Tyndall, but today our stockpile is valued at $83 million," said Chief Ouzts. "The stockpile supports every unit that has a munitions requirement here at Tyndall along with Pensacola Naval Air Station, Fla., Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. and Kessler Air Force Base, Miss. All of this is housed in 24 various storage structures within the 89-acre Munitions Storage Area....what we call the Bomb Dump. What is accounted for in the $83 million is a large quantity of missiles from other services and nations to support the Weapons Standardization Evaluation Program here at Tyndall."
They also have plans to install more structures in support of the mission.
"We have an $11.4 million military construction project to add additional storage, maintenance, inspection and operational facilities to support the new mission," said Captain Gjere.
In addition to the new buildings, the munitions flight will also see changes in personnel functions.
"Our ammo troops are meeting this change head-on," said Chief Ouzts. "We are excited to take on the deployment commitment and add another fighter squadron to our support requirements. What we have adopted here in ammo, is a mindset that this change is an opportunity, not a challenge."
"In order to prepare, there has been a lot of communication up and down the chain of command," added Captain Gjere. "Our wing leadership has done an outstanding job of creating an atmosphere of success as we prepare for Oct. 1 transition and the arrival of aircraft from Holloman Air Force Base, N.M. We have also started the process of identifying personnel who will be the primary deployers for the new fighter squadron and those personnel who will be primarily non-deployers; they will be here to support our other mission sets along with helping the deployers 'get out of town'."
Overall, the munitions flight is more than confident in their Airmen.
"Without a doubt they are ready for the opportunities transitioning to ACC brings and the commitment to this wing to continue with outstanding munitions support to every Tyndall unit," said Chief Ouzts. "This munitions flight is a professional organization in every aspect. We have spent a lot of time communicating with our Airmen about the change and answering their questions and concerns. Our senior NCOs and NCOs are leading the way in this transition and I am totally convinced we are not going to miss a step."