86th MUNS puts power in air power

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Larissa Greatwood
  • 86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
When it takes the coordination of multiple units to make a single mission happen, it can be difficult for Airmen to see the bigger picture and recognize how their efforts are impacting the overall Air Force mission.

The 86th Munitions Squadron Airmen say they are fortunate to see how they fit into the puzzle through receiving, storing and shipping ammunitions throughout the U.S. European Command. The 86th MUNS provides "the lethal edge" to combatant commands around the world.

For some 86th MUNS Airmen, the only difference between military and commercial aircraft is the firepower.

"Without us, jets are just Corvettes in the sky," said Senior Airman David Dean, 86th MUNS storage crew chief.

From the small arms ammo that SFS use to guard the gate, to large combat artillery and missiles, the 86th MUNS Airmen handle them all with discipline, rigor and pride.

The Airmen sort, inspect, ship and maintain serviceability and accountability for munitions at Ramstein as well as those shipped to  NATO allied nations, which is made easier by being centrally located in Europe.

"We have multiple containers that house several thousand tons of munitions," said Senior Master Sgt. David Shrimp, 86th MUNS materiel flight chief. "They come into Ramstein; then, we separate all of the explosive assets and palletize them for airlift to satisfy several munition shortfalls, or munitions that they expect to expend, throughout [U.S. Air Forces in Europe] at multiple installations."

With recent attacks in European countries, Shrimp said he believes the Airmen have grown to understand how critical they are to the mission.

"We've had the opportunity to send out a few [Airmen] on rapid deployments, and many have had a hand in helping support our allies in operations," he said.

Working with live ammunition, the 86th MUNS Airmen have to constantly rely on each other to ensure safety as one careless mistake could become a crucial problem.

"There's inherent risk in any job, but I think we carry a larger part of that risk and all of these Airmen need to learn to have faith and trust in each other," Shrimp said. "I think that's what really cements everything here and makes us different from most other organizations on base."

Because of the trust they have to have as a team, the Airmen are known to have a lot of comradeship.

"I think anyone who's been to a base or wing function has heard munitions loud and proud. We are a very close group with a lot of morale and camaraderie," Shrimp said.

The 86th MUNS Airmen continue to strengthen their bonds, and in turn, strengthen their mission success. Though they are a single unit, their global outreach and resources allow them to be a part of something bigger. Without their assets, effective air power may not be possible.