420th MUNS Troops Hone Warfighting Capabilities

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jessica Avallone
  • 501 CSW/PA

Over the last week a team of Airmen from the 420th Munitions Squadron (MUNS) prepared, built and arranged safe transportation between RAF Welford and RAF Fairford for 36 aircraft pallets of munitions. The pallets were loaded onto a C-17 Globemaster III for transport to Ramstein Air Base in support of adversary deterrence efforts. The entire operation was conducted in coordination with the 21st Airlift Squadron from Travis Air Force Base, California.

“This was only the second time a mission like this took place at RAF Fairford,” said Maj. Preston Smith, 420th MUNS commander. “Munitions airlifts like this do not regularly occur on RAF Fairford and significant planning and coordination was required to arrange all necessary personnel and equipment to make this possible.”

During the planning phase the 501st Combat Support Wing (CSW) Weapons Safety and RAF Liaison Offices are consulted to ensure that munitions personnel are compliant with all U.S. and U.K. explosive safety regulations and that no additional explosive hazards are created. Crew members participating in the operation receive detailed safety briefs, wear personal protective equipment and follow prescribed handling procedures.

“The most impressive part of this is seeing airmen from multiple career fields and bases come together to safely execute an operation that is not traditionally done at this base,” said Smith. “When our leaders speak of agile combat employment (ACE) and multi-capable Airmen, the 501st CSW and 420th MUNS are putting it into action.”

Smith said operations like this allow the 501st to fulfill high level taskings faster than the standard process and enable a larger quantity of munitions to be shipped. “A single airlift mission can save over seven weeks of work,” as well as highlight the 501st’s ACE capabilities.

“It is an honor to work with such a dedicated and professional group of Airmen,” said Smith. “I hope they see what can happen when we don’t let the status quo constrain us and that they realize that they are directly supporting operations that are key to achieving our strategic objectives in Europe.”