Munitions in Motion

by Capt. Luke Stover
86th Munitions Squadron

Team Ramstein is all about motion. Home to 14 C-130Js and host to one of Air Mobility Command’s busiest enroutes, there is a lot of iron on the ramp on any given day moving people and equipment around Europe and in and out of theaters of operation.

For Ramstein’s logistics professionals, moving munitions ─ in theory, should be another day at the office. In practice, however, it’s a complicated process requiring experienced professionals to ensure everyone’s safety and security; especially when tasking timelines are measured in hours or days, versus weeks.

The men and women of the 86th Munitions Squadron’s Tactical Airmunitions Rapid Response Package section, or TARRP, happen to be just those types of professionals.

Ramstein’s TARRP section is unique, the only one of its kind in U.S. Air Forces in Europe. The concept is simple: consolidate the expertise, equipment and resources required to palletize munitions for air shipment under one section, add stellar leadership, stand back and watch it shine. 

Established this past winter, the section is structured to satisfy the growing demand for rapidly deployable munitions to meet combatant commander taskings. Needless to say, they’ve been busy. In the last two months, the section has led the squadron in moving 282 short tons of low-density, high-demand munitions downrange in support of operations. 

“We’ve been really busy, but we know that what we’re doing here is having a direct impact down the line,” said Tech. Sgt. Andrew Clancy, TARRP assistant NCOIC.  
From 2,000-pound BLU-109 bomb bodies, to AIM-120 missiles, the squadron has flawlessly executed every tasking levied upon it, to include seven foreign military sales cases, totaling $7.7 million, to various NATO partners. 

These real-world movements validate months of hard work and focused practice. Starting in January, the squadron began conducting internal TARRP exercises to hone Airmen’s skill sets required to handle, inspect, transport, palletize and secure munitions. “The TARRPEX’s have been really good. They provide us a chance to take a pause from our daily operations and focus on our core wartime mission,” said Airman 1st Class Timothy Bryk, 86th MUNS munitions storage crewmember.
The extra training paid off when the squadron was called upon to support the initial surge for Odyssey Dawn; shipping 43 short tons of munitions in the first weekend alone. 

Training, like most operations at Ramstein, never stops. Taking the lessons learned from the past two months, the squadron has reengineered its combat munitions training program to better equip all 86th MUNS Airmen.  And there’s more on the horizon. Plans are in works for future TARRP exercises to incorporate other base agencies that already play an active role executing this important mission. 

“We’ve made a focused effort to revitalize our training and make it both relevant and rewarding for our Airmen … we’re definitely moving in the right direction,” said Senior Master Sgt. Dan Sleger, 86th MUNS production flight chief.  
Team Ramstein is all about motion, 86th MUNS knows how to deliver munitions.  Together, munitions in motion make the mission.