MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. — The terms “air refueling base” and “ammunition” are probably not linked in the minds of most people. But when it comes to all things ammo at McConnell Air Force Base, the 22nd Maintenance Squadron’s munitions flight runs the show behind the scenes.
“We provide the means to qualify, arm up and mobilize the whole base,” explained Senior Airman Marian Bock, 22 MXS munitions flight custody accounts technician.
Located in one of McConnell’s most remote corners, the Airmen of munitions flight store, inspect and account for the arsenal of the entire base and more.
“Supporting everybody is a big part of our mission,” said Tech. Sgt. Brian Carter, 22 MXS munitions flight assistant chief.
Some of the munitions that make their way through the inspection line include detonating cord, dynamite and blasting caps used by explosive ordnance disposal teams for various training and real-world applications. Squibs are also routinely inspected by the flight, which are important in the operation of the KC-135 Stratotanker and KC-46A Pegasus.
“A squib is basically a mechanism that sends an electrical impulse to the fire extinguishers in the plane to set off the fire suppression system,” said Bock. “The jets are not allowed to fly without them.”
Learning the ins and outs of being a munitions flight Airman offers its own challenges. Being stationed at a refueling base like McConnell means not having vital hands-on training with certain types of ammunition that Airmen might come across on deployments or temporary duty assignments. Since these materials aren’t readily available on base, study and hard work play a key role in developing these skills.
“We do a lot of our learning based off of our career development course materials about loading certain kinds of munitions, just because we don’t see a lot of it here,” said Bock.
As a shop of 15 personnel, munitions flight is a small, tight-knit unit with a big mission to carry out.
“It’s just the nature of the beast,” said Carter. “Everybody has to step up higher, but we work well together as far as I’m concerned.”
While they may not be a widely known part of Team McConnell, munitions flight have a substantial part to play in its global mobility mission.