BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, La. --
The 2nd Munitions Squadron armament flight not only maintains the equipment to drop conventional and nuclear bombs, but also continuously keeps Air Force Global Strike up to date on bomb-dropping mechanisms, a job that brings pride to these Airmen.
Armament flight has the responsibility to maintain, troubleshoot and repair over 4,000 pieces of Alternate Mission Equipment (AME) used to facilitate weapons-load operations.
“Our AME arms the B-52 Stratofortress with the capability to release nuclear and conventional munitions for use in global strike and combat support operations,” said Master Sgt. Jack McKee, 2nd MUNS armament flight chief. “Our daily operations include planning, organizing, directing and performing maintenance on over $700 million worth of weapons release equipment.”
A lot goes into the business of arming one of the biggest bomber airframes in the world. Armament flight frequently responds to support flight line load functions. When things go wrong with weapons load systems, armament is right there to fix it.
“We work on equipment re-configurations and bomb rack hung ordnances (explosives) and lastly, we deploy a number of technicians to each 2nd Bomb Wing contingency operation to maintain equipment worldwide,” McKee added.
Without this flight, B-52s would lose the ability to release weapons in support of the 2nd BW's Flying Hour Program, which is a contract that allows the wing to fly the B-52s, and general combat operations, McKee added.
A recent account of their impact to the Air Force Global Strike mission dates back to earlier this year when they supported the Conventional Rotary Launcher conversion.
“Our Airmen managed and delivered Air Force Global Strike Command’s $498 million switch from the Strategic Common Rotary Launcher to the Conventional Rotary Launcher. The CRL conversion project increased the number of smart weapons the B-52 is capable of releasing by 66 percent, driving the B-52’s lethality.”
The list of hard work the flight does goes on and on, a challenge that Staff Sgt. Tyler S. Myers, 2nd MUNS armament technician, loves.
“I enjoy the technical aspects of my job,” Myers. “Being challenged while troubleshooting and repairing equipment and knowing that I am working on nuclear capable aircraft every day are some of the best parts of being an armament troop.”
Airmen like Myers get to be excited about their job because of leaders that enjoy their position.
“I’m humbled to be given the opportunity to lead, manage, and develop 41 diverse Airmen on a daily basis,” McKee said. “Their drive and initiative motivate me to become a better leader and mentor.”
With 18 years of service and eight assignments, McKee is proud to be a weapons troop because of the comradery and atmosphere in a munitions squadron.
“We are bred to perform in hyper-competitive teams, laser-focused at mission success--but have a bond and sense of humor that transcends through the generations of service,” McKee said. “There's nothing better than the sense of pride and accomplishment felt after reloading bombs on an aircraft in combat, driving nuclear generations, or fixing an elusive problem in a bomb rack.”