86th MUNS keeps Air Force armed, makes every shot count

Story and photos by Airman 1st Class
Joshua Magbanua 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Airman 1st Class Taylor Szatko, 86th Munitions Squadron stockpile management crew chief, takes accountability of ammunition Sept. 19 at Ramstein. Munitions Airmen, commonly called ammo troops, are responsible for receiving, inspecting, and storing ammunition before shipping them to their respective users.

Airmen assigned to the 86th Munitions squadron conducted a major inspection of the munitions stockpile Sept. 18 to 22 at Ramstein.

The squadron conducts inventory of its munitions twice a year.

Munitions Airmen, commonly known as ammo troops, are responsible for receiving, inspecting, and storing ammunition before shipping them to their respective users.

“In the munitions world, accountability is an important element,” said 1st Lt. Nicole Manuel, 86th MUNS operations officer. “Munitions are a highly sensitive item and we definitely need to be aware of where each one is. If we don’t do our job we’re not supporting the people on deployment doing theirs.”

The 86th MUNS provides munitions support throughout the theatre. The squadron also supports troops in deployed locations and NATO allies when requested, Manuel added.

“We can have as many planes in the sky as we want, but if they’re not properly equipped with our munitions, we’re not going to fight the war we have to fight,” she continued. “We’re the ones equipping the guys downrange with the ammunition they need.”

Tech. Sgt. Randa Head, 86th MUNS noncommissioned officer in charge of munitions operations, said she was pleased with how the inspection was going. She explained that ammo troops must be diligent with their inventory, saying the munitions stored at the squadron are important in accomplishing missions.

“As of right now, it’s gone by very well,” Head said. “We’ve been inventorying the line items we have stored out here. It’s vital that we ensure 100 percent accountability.”

Senior Master Sgt. Brian Sevy, 86th MUNS material flight chief, said proper accountability of munitions is a matter of public safety.

“We’ve been entrusted by U.S. European Command and the 86th Airlift Wing to safely maintain ordnance,” Sevy said. “It is our job to keep the base safe along with ensuring (munitions are) transported safely and properly so that it can get where it needs to be for its intended purpose.”

Sevy said keeping count of all ammunition at the 86th MUNS helps build trust with taxpayers by showing good stewardship of resources. He added that the squadron plays a major role in bolstering the U.S. military’s defense posture in Europe and other theaters of war.

“Our job is to enable the projection of power for the U.S. European Command theater,” he said. “That postured presence is a deterrent. The fact that EUCOM and (U.S. Air Forces Africa) can rely on us to have reliable ready-to-ship ordnance, it gives them assurance against any of our worldwide threats. Simply being here and keeping (our munitions) clean, orderly and ready is a weapon in its own way.”

Tech. Sgt. Randa Head, 86th Munition Squadron noncommissioned officer in charge of munitions operations, conducts an inventory of munitions Sept. 19 at Ramstein. The 86th MUNS provides support throughout the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa area of responsibility.