36th MUNS begins work in brand-new missile facility
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- The strength behind air superiority in the Pacific is firepower. Andersen Air Force Base, with its strategic location and Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence, has the largest stockpile of munitions in the Pacific Air Forces. Andersen Airmen supporting this arsenal hold the grave responsibility of keeping $1.28 billion worth of munitions properly maintained, inspected and stored.
In January 2017, the 36th Munitions Squadron officially opened their new Precision-Guided Munitions shop. Thirteen Airmen now work in the new 7,642 square foot facility that’s comprised of a main office area, a support section and three separate maintenance bays with blast-walls and above head cranes. These upgrades not only increase the 36th MUNS munition generation abilities, but also increases safety and reduces man-hours spent.
“With such a large missile stockpile, we’re a dedicated shop that ensures everything is serviceable and ready for the fight,” said Airman 1st Class Richard Melton, 36th MUNS PGM support member. “Having three separate bays also increases the productivity rate for tests, inspections and general maintenance.”
The PGM Airmen spend their time inspecting, testing and updating missile software to make sure the missiles are mission-ready. The new facility also has an updated air-conditioning system, keeping the missiles and other equipment corrosion free and mission-ready.
The missiles serviced at the new facility are part of the Air Forces’ largest stockpile of joint air-to-surface stand-off missiles, comprising of more than 15% of the total amount in the Air Force. The shop also maintains air-ground missiles, dummy-air-training missiles and air-decoy missiles.
“The JASSM has a large stand-off distance, making it the number one choice if the Air Force needed to take out any target,” said Senior Airman Jesus Joaquin Babauta, 36th MUNS PGM inspector. “One of the reasons we have a new facility for the precision-guided missile is because some of the testing for the missiles requires high-powered air and high-electricity vaults. Having those in-house diminishes the need for outside support to help with our testing.”
The new PGM shop supports U.S. PACOM’s CBP mission which currently rotates B-1B Lancers through the region. In addition to the CBP rotations, Bomber Assurance and Deterrence missions, which bring the B-52 Stratofortress and B-2 Spirit bombers to Guam, and the rotational fighter aircraft that provide theater security are supported by the PGM team’s new workshop.
“Being a native of Guam and a munitions troop shows me how I’m helping to maintain readiness and protect my island and our country,” Babauta said. “Being here fills me with pride and a big sense of accomplishment.”