Armory keeps Osan armed and ready to fight
By Senior Airman Kristina Overton, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published January 07, 2013
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- While the Airmen in the Osan Air Base Armory do not post to the field, their job is just as mission essential as any. These guardians protect the weapons the installation uses for protection by safe-guarding a depot of arms and ammunition.
The 51st Security Forces Squadron Armory is the largest in the Pacific Air Force by size and amount of weapons, housing millions of dollars worth of ammo and weaponry to include M-9 pistols, M-4 carbine rifles, M-203 Grenade Launcher, M-240B Machine Gun, M-249 Machine Gun, MM-K19, and the M-24 sniper weapon system.
"What we do is really important to the installation, and it's an enormous amount of responsibility," said Senior Airman Andrew Smalley, 51st Security Forces armory assistant NCO in charge. "Before the base gets recalled for contingency, or even before security forces Airmen can post, we are here making sure that everything is set up and ready to go."
The armory is a 24-hour operation, so the armorers work 12-hour-shifts, with shift changes at 4 a.m. and 4 p.m. After doing accountability of the entire inventory and completing changeover with the previous shift, they have about 45 minutes before they arm up their first flight of Airmen, which continues through the day. For them, attention to detail and organization are vital to properly maintaining the armory.
Not only are the armors responsible for each piece of equipment in their facility, but they also provide verification for each member checking out a weapon.
Security forces members carry cards with their assigned weapon information and location in the armory. After the armorer receives the card, they pull the weapon from one of the racks that dominate the armory's floor space. The armorer then places the member's card in the empty space, clears the weapon and hands it to the Airman.
"Having the weapons card helps to streamline the process for checking out weapons," said Tech. Sgt. Aaron Poirier, 51st SFS armory NCO in charge. "We can look on the weapons card and see the weapon serial number, butt stock number and who it belongs to. That's the same weapon the Airman will receive every time. This also helps maintain accountability for the items issued from the armory."
After each shift, weapons must be cleared by the security forces Airmen, and then turned into the armory for security until the individual needs it again for duty.
"The armory is the center for getting all security forces personnel armed up and ready for their tour of duty," Poirier said. "The armory also ensures that there is a secure place for all members to house their weapons, and in the event of any contingency, we are the forefront in making sure that the base has everything they need to defend and be ready to fight."