News: 332 AEW aCHIEFments: Chief visits ammo
Story by Senior Airman Amber Kelly-Herard
SOUTHWEST ASIA - With just three days on the job, the new 332nd Air Expeditionary Wing's command chief has already created something big.
For a few hours, Chief Master Sgt. John Brinkley, went to the munitions storage area and worked alongside ammunition technicians from the 332nd Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron to put together his first bomb.
The chief's visit began with a brief by Master Sgt. Jeremy Kell, 332nd EMXS ammunitions production superintendent. Then the squadron provided the chief a safety briefing, before he got started.
"When I was working alongside our airmen I felt immense pride," said Brinkley, who is deployed from Scott Air Force Base, Ill. "They are well trained, highly motivated airmen who have left their families and loved ones back home to answer our nation's call."
Brinkley was able to combine getting to know the airmen, who are deployed from Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., as well as how they enable the mission.
"Our job is important over here because we are providing top cover for people coming out of Iraq," said Staff Sgt. Robert Flagg, 332nd EMXS production supervisor, who is a native of Canby, Ore. "If they need fire power or support, it's our job to build munitions to protect them."
"When we were done building the bomb, it struck me that as our F-16s continue to fly over Iraq, the bombs that Staff Sgt. Flagg, Senior Airman Shelton, Senior Airman Lenz and Senior Airman McKernan built could be the difference between life and death to a service member in Iraq," continued the chief, who is a native of Chesapeake, Va.
As a prior maintainer, the chief was not completely out of his element.
"Some aspects of building a bomb were similar to what I did as a traditional maintainer, we used torque wrenches, screwdriver and technical orders," said the chief. "The biggest difference was generally you don't have to worry about a piece of aircraft ground equipment exploding."
Equipped with a notebook and pencil, the chief took notes so that he could keep up with the ammo lingo.
"One of the most impressive parts of my bomb building experience was the professionalism and positive attitude the crew had," said Brinkley. "The crews made it seem so easy to build a bomb, but it is not. Attaching and lining up the guidance sections and the fuse to an MARK 82 warhead is hard, but they made look easy."
From start to finish, Brinkley learned about the components, as well as the inspection points.
"The bomb building crew showed me again the value of team work, they showed me how four individuals can come together to achieve a common goal for the greater good," said Brinkley. "I also relearned the importance of following technical order guidance and a secret way to apply room temperature vulcanizing silicone sealant."
At the end of the day, Brinkley took a moment to address the 332nd EMXS airmen and they responded with their chant, "332nd EMXS...If you ain't ammo, you aint..."