In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 649th Munitions Squadron at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, has adopted new procedures and precautions to balance airmen’s safety and health with supporting worldwide warfighter requirements.
As part of the Air Force Sustainment Center, the squadron supports AMMO resupply requirements for the Air Force, the Defense Department and allied and partner-nation warfighters. This involves placing bombs, missiles and other weapons onto aircraft pallets for shipment via cargo aircraft to warfighters around the globe.
The squadron also packages and ships aircraft parts and items such as explosive components that are part of ejection seats and life-support equipment.
”We are taking standard preventative measures like wearing masks, social distancing and disinfecting at our shipping/receiving and inspection bays,” said Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Brett Kemp, 649th MUNS materiel flight chief. ”Also, we have taken a staggered approach to manning requirements, depending on changing mission needs.”
Air Force Tech. Sgt. Toby McGuire, 649th MUNS shipping/receiving assistant section chief, said airmen in the squadron are primarily operating out of two large bays in their main facility. ”COVID-19 has obviously changed our work process, but the job still has to happen,” he said.
The shipping bay is where all outgoing assets get inspected and then shipped out to the organizations worldwide. The receiving bay is where all items coming into the squadron’s depot are inspected before being accepted and added to the inventory stockpile.
”We are on the hook to be always ready, any time an asset resupply is needed in an area of response. That’s what we do,” Kemp said. ”Of equal importance is our regular warfighter support involving egress items and life support explosive component parts.”
Kemp added that the squadron is always inspecting incoming, outgoing and static assets, along with moving various items, preparing materials and coordinating with other agencies throughout each step of the process.
”It’s not what gets all the AMMO glory, but it’s what saves lives,” Kemp said.
(Todd Cromar is assigned to the 75th Air Base Wing.)