501st Combat Support Wing orchestrates UK’s largest munitions supply movement of the decade

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jennifer Zima
  • 501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs

From May 15th to the 19th, logistics and munitions Airmen and personnel from the 501st Combat Support Wing completed the United Kingdom’s largest munitions supply movement in a decade.

“The overall mission was to resupply our munitions areas, primarily the 420th Munitions Squadron,” said Maj. Jose Quintanilla, 501st CSW logistics readiness officer.

According to Quintanilla, the shipment contained a total of 121 containers valued at about 145 million dollars and 450,000 pounds of net explosive weight. The delivery required 71 trucks.

Col. Bridget McNamara, 422nd Air Base Group commander, visited the port during the movement.

“Half a million pounds of net explosives weight are going from the port to RAF Welford, which is our second largest ammo storage in U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa,” said McNamara.

Over the course of six days, members of USAFE-UK, U.S. Army’s Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command, the 100th and 48th Logistics Readiness Squadron transportation management offices, and the 501st CSW and transportation contractors, came together to execute the ammunition supply operation.

“Import containers were downloaded and transported to their assigned locations, where the ammo they enclose will be securely stored to support theater requirements,” said Quintanilla.

The orchestration of this task came with certain challenges because of the sheer size of the shipment.

“Due to the net explosive weight limitations of the port, the download portion of this operation had been broken down over three nights,” said Quintanilla. “The coaster vessel married up with the main vessel, which was docked at the anchorage point, roughly five kilometers away.”

The success of the mission depended on the cooperation from all parties, including the tide.

“It was a phenomenal experience,” said Quintanilla. “This operation could not be done without the effort of all the personnel that are involved, and it’s a great experience for us to be able to witness.”