Munitions Airmen pay it forward
By Airman 1st Class Tessa Corrick, 2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 04, 2019
ROYAL AIR FORCE FAIRFORD, United Kingdom --
A U.S. Strategic Command Bomber Task Force in Europe has been operating out of RAF Fairford for almost a month now, enabling a joint training opportunity for Barksdale Air Force Base, La., Airmen.
However, one shop has been able to not only complete their primary BTF mission, but also bring extra Airmen to help return an entire fleet to serviceability.
RAF Welford, England, has a deep storage facility unit for munitions, which makes it uniquely suited to provide support to bases like Fairford in contingency operations. This in turn means, munitions personnel assigned to Welford are responsible for maintaining the munitions support equipment on Fairford, which is more than 30 miles away.
Before arriving for the BTF, Fairford’s munitions support equipment required some routine maintenance to operate. Airmen assigned to the 2nd Munitions Squadron at Barksdale, have worked to bring its operational ability back to 100 percent.
“When you talk about restoring this capability here at Fairford, these trailers are specifically here to help all units that come onto the base for whatever operations [they are involved in],” said Senior Master Sgt. Mark Brooks, BTF Munitions superintendent. “With us completing the inspections and fixing any kind of discrepancies and restoring serviceability, this is allowing [U.S. Air Forces in Europe] and Fairford to meet their requirements to provide support during contingency operations out of Fairford.”
Most of the issues came from overdue inspections, but some trailers had minor maintenance issues such as locked up brakes or rusty brake lines. The total value of the munitions support equipment on Fairford is more than $1 million.
“As far as the overall condition of the fleet it was really good,” Brooks said. “To support the BTF training mission we only needed a handful of trailers, but for a surge in combat operations we would need every trailer that they have here to meet those requirements.”
In the month that the Airmen have been working, they have also completed 50 awaiting maintenance work orders and trained 19 people, including Airmen from Welford and contractors who will work with the equipment in the future.
“[Air Force Global Strike Command] and USAFE will now benefit from having these trailers. Every BTF mission that comes through now gets the advantage from all the work that we have done,” said Maj. Scott Kubalek, BTF Maintenance Group commander. “It is paid forward, which is a huge relief that is lifted for the personnel here.”
“This is also saving money because every trailer that we wouldn’t have fixed would’ve had a price tag associated with it to be picked up by a contractor,” Kubalek added. “That’s thousands of dollars that are saved. There are multiple benefits of us bringing that organic capability in and completing the job.”
Restoring these assets also impacts the length of time lines, Kubalek said. Strategically, it allows units to rapidly meet their deadlines and tasks given to them by leadership.
“The Airmen took it seriously - to the point where they put off breaks or leaving early because they set their own goal and target that they wanted to hit, and they stayed with it,” Kubalek said. “No one told them to do this. It is a testament of them striving for excellence and because of their effort, they are going to hit that target. They have done an outstanding job and I am very proud of their dedication.”