Ammo in the RPA World

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Victoria Nuzzi
  • 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Ammo country, a land not so far away full of munitions and multi-capable airmen. Without them, the 432nd Wing/432nd Air Expeditionary Wing couldn’t dream of having precision strike capabilities.

Ammo’s duties in general include accounting, inspecting, building, maintaining and delivering non-nuclear munitions to aircraft around the Air Force. This includes chaff and flare, small-diameter bombs, guided bomb units and precision-guided munitions as some examples. They also provide munitions for security forces and explosive ordnance disposal units.

Ammo shops are ordinarily divided into separate sections that all perform different duties. The sections of an ordinary munitions flight include production, systems and materials. The production section oversees the assembly, disassembly, delivery, inspection, maintenance of conventional munitions and the handling of all equipment. The system sections, plans, schedules, controls, and directs base munitions activities. Lastly, the material section accounts for all munitions on the installation while storing, handling, inspecting, shipping, receiving and coordinating worldwide munitions access logistics and transportation.

At Creech, one Ammo shop performs all the duties of three different shops. They work with all the above tasks with GBUs and Air-to-Ground Missile-114 Hellfire missiles for the MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft. They also work closely with multiple agencies including, the 8 attack squadrons on base, the 432nd Security Forces Squadron and the 556th Operational Test and Evaluation Squadron.

“There is definitely a difference between working with RPAs and manned aircraft,” said Master Sgt. Jacob Hillyer, 432nd Maintenance Squadron productions section chief.“ We work closer to the flight schedule than we would normally since the aircrew can swap mid-mission and those aircrews may not be qualified to drop munitions in training or combat missions. We just ensure that we only allocate munitions to those qualified since flying squadrons only get a certain number of munition allocations per year.”

Additionally, they work with sister services throughout the DoD by providing courtesy storage for their munitions, personnel, and equipment to help build or issue their assets. An example of this is the Ammo shop at Creech supports the Navy Expeditionary Systems Engineering Division by assisting their test section with operational reliability testing for several assets and storing their munitions.

They also accommodate international partners when they come to Creech AFB for training exercises by providing facilities, equipment and personnel to assist with building and testing munitions. 

Due to the shop performing multiple duties, the airmen must be resilient and work cohesively as a team at Creech.

“Creech’s Ammo shop has a steady workload and the people here have a lot better camaraderie at this base compared to other bases that I have been to,” said Senior Airman Dylan Espinoza, 432nd MXS munitions crew chief.

Due to the overall mission of the 432nd Wing which flies sixty combat lines, the Ammo shop at Creech Air Force Base deploys more frequently than other bases.

“We deploy frequently at this base for our mission here but, what is also awesome is we have the opportunity to be tasked with deployments outside of our Wing,” said Hillyer. “This includes supporting other bases, airframes and some warehousing operations. We have been sent to U.S. Air Forces Central Command and the Ammunition Pre-Positioned Fleet as some examples…

“Our impact on the mission is huge,” said Hillyer. “We provide the kinetic capabilities for our aircraft. Without us, we wouldn’t be able to arm our aircraft or security forces.”

Without Ammo, a number of the 8,579 sorties accomplished by the 432d Wing that contributed to removing 67 enemies in 2023 would not have been possible.

“I enjoy Ammo at Creech, “said Senior Airman Avenly- Anne De La Garza, 432nd MXS munitions crew chief. “Ammo at Creech has allowed me to experience a lot. For example, I have deployed twice since being here and I have been pushed here to be my best.”

The 432nd Wing is engaged daily with kinetic effects and reconnaissance against those who would harm us at home and abroad 24/7/365. Half of what the 432nd Wing and the RPA Enterprise do would not be possible without Ammo in the RPA world.