420th MUNS bring skills to USAFE Combat Ammunition Exercise

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  • 501st Combat Support Wing

This story was originally published by 41 FW/PA and has been localized by 501 CSW/PA.

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England—Airmen from 501st Combat Support Wing took part in the United States Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa’s inaugural Combat Ammunition Production Exercise at Royal Air Force Lakenheath, England July 16-19, 2018.

The purpose of the exercise is to train units in the mass production of conventional munitions at rates necessary to support future contingency operations, while bolstering USAFE-AFARICA’s wartime readiness and demonstrating to allies and partners its ability to rapidly deter adversaries and defend their sovereign skies against malign aggression.

The 48th Fighter Wing Maintenance Group hosted approximately 160 Airmen to participate in the exercise and from the 160 Airmen, five came from the 420th Munitions Squadron at RAF Welford, England.

Other participating units included the 9th Munitions Squadron, Beale Air Force Base, Calif., 31st MXG, Aviano Air Base, Italy, 48th MXG, 52nd MXG, Spangdahlem AB, Germany, 86th Logistics Readiness Group, Ramstein AB, Germany, the 422nd Air Base Group, 501st Combat Support Wing, RAF Alconbury, England and the 913th Maintenance Squadron, 913th Airlift Group, Little Rock AFB, Ark.

The 420th MUNS Airmen’s primary mission during the exercise was to provide rapid war reserve material munitions movement capability and perform continuous munitions stockpile maintenance in support. They were essential to the breakout and repack operations for the exercise. Specifically, they delivered munitions components from stockpile configuration to bomb building crews as well as assembled and disassembled live combat ready munitions.

“Playing such a large role in this type of training was a tremendous opportunity,” said Tech. Sgt. Lawrence Garabis, 420 MUNS inspection section chief. “Taking part in the preparations and execution of the first ever CAPEX in USAFE was an experience I will never forget and will look back on for the rest of my career. For myself and the rest of the team it feels like we made our mark in Air Force history.”

All said and done, the 420th MUNS assisted in building 897 munitions in round-the-clock operations. After the exercise there were 182 total fin kits and guidance sets that had to be inspected for contents and serviceability, the serial numbers had to be matched to the containers and the kits had to be repacked in factory conditions. Additionally, the members remained on-site for a second week to account for, inspect, repackage and restore munitions guidance systems.

"Our Total Force Airmen are focused on warfighting readiness," said Brigadier General Roy Agustin, Director of Logistics, Engineering and Force Protection, Headquarters USAFE-AFARICA. "Exercises like this help us to refine our best practices and keep our skills razor sharp, which ultimately bolsters readiness and demonstrates our ability to act rapidly, deter adversaries and defend our Allies and partners."

Continued CAPEX training is expected in the future, which will enable a faster response from U.S. Airmen to any aggression by any adversary against the sovereign territory of U.S. partners and NATO allies.