MacDill has munitions…?

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Shandresha Mitchell
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
Due to the importance and high visibility of the aerial refueling mission, the munitions bunkers on the installation can often go unnoticed.

During the 1950s and 1960s, MacDill was home to a Strategic Air Command base for B-47 and B-52 bombers. In the 1960s, the base transitioned to a Tactical Air Command installation for F-4 Phantom II fighters, followed by F-16s in the 1980s.

Today, MacDill is home to KC-135 Stratotankers and C-37A Gulfstream aircraft.
Even though the mission of the base has changed over the years, the munitions Airmen continue to stay hard at work with a full schedule.

"On a day to day basis, we deal with custody accounts," commented Senior Airman Faith Gerres, 6th Maintenance Squadron munitions systems apprentice. "As munitions Airmen, our main priority as custodians is handling munitions for U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, the 6th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Flight and the 6th Security Forces Squadron."

Gerres explained that munitions maintains 100 percent accountability of all the assets on base.

"Everyone has to come through us to get ammunition," said Staff Sgt. Justin Splain, 6th MXS senior munitions inspector. "We have to work hand in hand with them to procure the assets for not only training but their carry rounds."

Munitions provides various types of ammunition to the 6th Air Mobility Wing and its tenant units; however, their biggest business is bullets. The ammunition in the highest demand is 5.56 mm and 9 mm rounds.

Splain explained that from the cradle to the grave, munitions come to them, are used and ultimately come back to them.

"We have to maintain serviceability and accountability of all munitions by doing paperwork, processing allocations, authorizations, inspecting items to ensure they are serviceable and safe to be used and eventually issuing them out," commented Splain. "Even after they fire these rounds, they bring the brass back to us so that we can certify it as residue and safe to ship for turn-in."

The munitions Airmen deal with all the documentation issues, turn-ins, and expenditures to ensure that the individuals are turning in the right assets and that those assets are accounted for. All ammunition on the base has an inspection cycle. The purpose of the inspections is to ensure compliance with policies and directives and to evaluate procedures for assembling, renovating, and storing munitions.

"I am the senior munitions inspector; I run the entire inspection program for the stock pile," commented Splain. "So basically, anything that is explosive here on this base, I am in charge of tracking its serviceability; it's my responsibility to keep everything as serviceable as possible and up to date on all its inspections."

Although the mission of MacDill AFB has changed over time, the munitions Airmen's role has maintained its significance by helping to ensure the safety and security of the installation, as well as the proficiency in weapons training for individuals stationed at the base.