News: 'Ammo country:' Pride in munitions
Story by Senior Airman Kayla Newman
LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. - It was a normal work day during Christmas time in Korea, when Senior Airman Mark Cruz and half of his section were told to go home early and come back at midnight to begin their shift.
The entire flight knew this was the moment they'd been waiting for - finally their hard work and training would be put to the test.
"Everybody's adrenaline was going," recalled now Staff Sgt. Mark Cruz, 1st Maintenance Squadron precision guidance munitions supervisor. "It was not a training exercise; it was real world stuff."
There was no time for questions. By the time the 12-hour shift was up, some realized they hadn't even stopped for a bathroom or lunch break. No one complained; because of the importance of the situation, everyone worked together to get the job done.
"Everyone was getting dirty that day," explained Cruz. "To see what Ammo is capable of when called upon is really cool."
Cruz, who came into the U.S. Air Force after following in the footsteps of his older cousins six and a half years ago, could not be more proud to be a member of one of the largest career fields in the Air Force.
"If I were to explain Ammo," explains Senior Master Sgt. David Jamison, 1st MXS munitions flight section chief of productions, "I would say we are the largest family in the Air Force."
Most people at Langley Air Force Base, Va., probably could not explain where Ammo Flight is located, and for good reason. With the type of work that the 182 personnel assigned to 1st MXS Ammo do, it is best to be located away from high-traffic areas on base.
"Unless you are part of a maintenance group, most people don't even know we exist on a base," said Jamison. "We are always away from the main populous of the base because of what we do."
Ammo is in charge of providing munitions support for the entire base and supporting the F-22 Raptor. With customers ranging from security forces, logistics readiness and explosive ordinance disposal to the Office of Special Investigations, the productions, systems and materials sections within Ammo help provide services throughout Joint Base Langley-Eustis.
The productions section provides munitions support for the flight line and is broken down into four smaller sections consisting of 100 military personnel - precision guided munitions, conventional maintenance, line delivery and equipment maintenance.
"As productions section chief, I oversee the missile shop, conventional maintenance and line delivery - which get munitions to the flight line," explained Jamison. "I'm also oversee the equipment maintenance section, which maintains all the support equipment and makes sure all the munitions can get to the flight line."
Because of the mission-critical nature of their job, service members assigned to Ammo train in each work center as if they are in a deployed environment, said Jamison.
"We are trained when we go through our job step-by-step to be deployed," said Cruz. "What we do here every day is what we would be doing out in a deployed location.
"Me coming to Ammo was fate," Cruz continued. "I love what I do every single day and nobody else in the Air Force does what we do."
With a sign reading "Welcome to Ammo Country" perfectly placed to greet visitors, it is evident that Ammo does not lack in pride or camaraderie. By working together, Ammo Flight effectively accomplishes their munitions mission.