86 MUNS: Amazon of explosives

What is the world’s greatest Air Force without its overwhelming firepower?

Thanks to the 86th Munitions Squadron, the United States Air Force is not just all bark and no bite.

“86 MUNS is the primary airlift hub for munitions to everyone in the United States European Command,” said Tech. Sgt. Rayvone Williams, 86 MUNS munitions control section chief.

U.S. Army Cpl. Tremier Cook, 66th Transportation Company motor transportation operator, left, and Staff Sgt. Ray Brown, 66 TC motor transportation squad leader, right, assigned to Kleber Kaserne, Germany, await munitions cargo placement for a long-haul transport at Ramstein Air Base, Feb. 4. Airmen from the 86th Munitions Squadron safely place crates with munitions cargo on semi trucks for Cook and Brown to transport to another base. 

The 86 MUNS is responsible for maintaining, storing and providing rapid shipment of combat munitions support across the European theater, in order to deter and eliminate threats to the U.S., partner nations and allies.

“Our job here is not necessarily to build the munitions like you’d see at a fighter base,” said Chief Master Sgt. Gordon Comerford, 86 MUNS superintendent. “Our job is to get them where they are needed.”

Ramstein stores, maintains and resupplies munitions for bases across Europe since not every base has the capability to store munitions.

“We have a variety of fourth and fifth generation air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions, as well as a full complement of ground-base-defense munitions,” said Master Sgt. David Hardy, 86 MUNS systems flight chief.

Airmen from the 86th Munitions Squadron transport a crate of munitions at Ramstein Air Base, Feb. 4. 86 MUNS personnel safely placed munitions cargo on the back of a semi truck destined for another base. 

The stockpile management section of 86 MUNS ensures proper storage of all munitions, while the inspection section performs a periodic inspection to make sure munitions are good to go for whenever they need to be employed.

Williams says that each section relies on the other for mission success.

As the global gateway — and the only munitions airlift hub in U.S. Air Forces in Europe – Air Forces Africa — Ramstein Air Base is able to provide rapid and agile combat munitions support through the hard work of the men and women of the 86 MUNS.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Lauriell Young, left, and Senior Airman Cesar Lopez, right, 86th Munitions Squadron stockpile management crew members , prepare to spot for a forklift at Ramstein Air Base, Feb. 4. Spotters are the eyes of the Airmen who drive the 50k forklift, guiding them as they safely place munitions cargo on a semi truck.
86th Munitions Squadron Airmen perform operations management duties in the munitions control room at Ramstein Air Base, Feb. 4. Munitions control Airmen coordinate with all 86 MUNS personnel to maintain accountability to ensure safety of Airmen and the surrounding areas.