By Airman 1st Class Sydney Campbell
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Senior Airman Wyatt Oakey, 2nd MUNS munitions control technician, holds a transparency on a map of the base munitions storage area at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Oct. 2, 2018. Munitions control utilizes a target transparency to visualize the area that could potentially be impacted by munitions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sydney Campbell)
The AMMO logo is displayed at the 2nd Munitions Squadron munitions control front desk at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Oct. 2, 2018. The symbol is displayed throughout the squadron to showcase their pride. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Sydney Campbell)
When a bomb hits a target, it must first go through a long process of safe transportation and close observation.
Airmen from the 2nd Munitions Squadron system flight munitions control are there for the entirety of a munitions life cycle.
“We follow munitions from the first time it sees sunlight,” said Tech. Sgt. John Acosta, 2nd MUNS munitions control section chief. “Our office tracks them every step of the way from assembly, to transportation to the flight line, to being loaded on a B-52. We make sure everything goes off without a hitch.”
“We control, direct and deliver munitions, on time, safely and effectively,” Acosta continued.
Accountability of these weapons is a large part of the 2nd Bomb Wing mission of providing nuclear capable munitions.
"Without munitions the B-52 Stratofortress is an aircraft without a mission,” Acosta said. “Ammo makes the mission. And in order to make the mission successful we have to know everything that goes on inside the wire.”
Within the wired fence of the munitions storage area, munitions controls is omniscient of absolutely everything.
“We can tell you who exactly is here and where they are,” Acosta said. “We can tell you why they are there, what they are doing and how long they have been doing it. Knowing this ensures there aren’t people in the bomb dump that shouldn’t be.”
When it comes to munitions, nothing gets past control.
Munitions control is not for everyone, but for some it is what they live for.
“I love ammo,” said Senior Airman Wyatt Oakey, 2nd MUNS munitions control technician. “We are the people who get called when it’s time to put warheads on foreheads. Some people think this job is stressful because of what we are responsible for. I however find it intriguing being the command and control of the munitions storage area.”
A dependable team helps Oakey stay positive and motivated despite the demands of the job.
“We really take advantage of the quiet times,” Oakey said. “The shop has some really great people, we all get along and everyone is very competent, which is important for our job.”
Teamwork can make all the difference for those stressful moments.
“I am proud of what we do,” Acosta said. ”We are the focal point of information and without us the mission wouldn’t go as smoothly.”
Munitions control Airmen monitor bombs from cradle to grave. They’re charged with maintaining the weaponry while ensuring it’s safely kept and ready to deploy. Munitions Airmen are prepared and aware of their responsibility in the fight to assure our allies and deter our adversaries.