By Staff Sgt. Benjamin Rojek, 51st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 15, 2007
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- "No man's an island," said a flightline maintenance technician here. "Whether you're playing flag football on the weekend or building bombs during the week, you can't do it by yourself."
Senior Airman Jason Jordan isn't the only one at 51st Munitions Squadron who knows that teamwork is key to a successful mission. All members of the production flight said it takes all shops to get the munitions ready for the fight.
One section in the production flight is precision guided munitions. Their job is to assemble, disassemble, test and inspect air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles.
"We basically make sure all of our munitions are ready to go and serviceable," said Airman 1st Class Cody Smith, a PGM technician. "We have the munitions 'Ready to Fight Tonight!'"
But it takes more than one Airman to get those munitions out the door.
"Teamwork is everything to us," said Airman Smith, who works on air-to-air missiles. "Most of this work we can't do by ourselves. If we disassemble a missile, we need another guy there to help guide us, to help move it."
Safety is paramount when working with munitions and it takes teamwork to make sure damage and injuries are minimized. If a mishap were to occur, every person in the section has a specific assigned job, covering all the bases from evacuation to fire control.
"If everyone functions as a vital member of the team, we can accomplish a whole lot more," said Staff Sgt. David Coughtry, a PGM bay chief. "It's 'One Team - One Fight,' but on that team everyone has a job to do."
It's no different over at conventional maintenance, where 51st MUNS Airmen process 20 mm munitions, chaff and flare countermeasures, 2.75 rockets and BDU-33 practice bombs, which pilots use to maintain their target proficiency.
"Teamwork allows me to rely on a coworker," said Senior Airman Gregory Wilson, a conventional maintenance section crew chief. "If I can't do something, someone here can back me up; I can rely on them."
And it's not just their fellow conventional maintenance technicians on whom,they rely.
"Everyone plays a part," said Airman Wilson. "Conventional maintenance, inspections, PGM, preload - if storage doesn't bring us the materials, we can't build the chaff and flare, or if line delivery doesn't bring out the munitions, there are no bombs on the jets."
Flightline maintenance technicians have their part to play as well. They inspect, test, program and assemble munitions, getting them ready to support generations or daily training sorties.
"We put the 'power' in 'airpower,'" said Senior Airman Kyle Heatherton, a flightline maintenance crew chief.
But Airman Heatherton knows it takes more than his one team to accomplish the overall 51st MUNS mission.
"We have (four sections in the flight)," he said, "and we all have to do one thing - get the bombs to the flightline."
One section that makes sure there are wheels to deliver the munitions is the munitions support section.
"We're like the Pep Boys of the squadron," said Master Sgt. Jose Caban, munitions support section NCO in charge. "We take care of the munitions handling equipment. We do brake and tire pressure checks, even down to inspecting wheel assemblies and ball bearings."
The section takes care of 127 Mission Handling Unit-110 and 141 trailers. These trailers transport munitions to the flightline, so it is important to make sure they are ready to go at any moment, said Tech. Sgt. Michael Livingston, munitions support assistant NCO in charge. That means he and every Airman in his section have to be trained and ready to get the job done.
"Teamwork at a shop-level means being able to depend on one another," said Sergeant Livingston. "For (MUNS) as a whole, it means without one shop, Ammo can't function."
While the production flight prepares and inspects the munitions (PGM and conventional maintenance), gets them ready for flight (flightline maintenance) and gets them out to the line (munitions support), it takes all flights to get the 51st MUNS mission accomplished. And 51st MUNS is itself a team member of the juggernaut that is the Mustang Stampede. So no matter what the job is, ever Airman is an essential part of keeping Osan "Ready to Fight Tonight!"
"It's like chopsticks," said Airman Jordan. "One chopstick can be easily broken. But if you have a whole bunch of chopsticks grouped together, it's almost impossible to break."