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36th MUNS, Navy Ordnance work together for RIMPAC

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Marianique Santos
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Airmen from the 36th Munitions Squadron worked hand-in-hand with Naval Base Guam's ordnance unit to support the 69th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron's participation in the Rim of the Pacific Exercise July 11 to 31.

The RIMPAC exercise, which started in 1971, is a biennial exercise in and around the shores of Hawaii. With 22 nations working together, approximately 25,000 personnel and 250 aircraft, it is the world's largest maritime exercise.

"I'm amazed at all the planning and the coordination that was done in order to make RIMPAC happen," said Master Sergeant Stephen Taylor, 36th MUNS deployed ammo lead. "It's something I'm very proud to be part of."

The 36th MUNS played a key role in munitions support to B-52 aircraft, allowing the 69th EBS to drop Navy's MK-62 mines during RIMPAC's MINEX, a low-level mine-laying exercise designed to train the Navy's counter-mine specialists.

"We help put the mines on Air Force bomb trailers, make sure they're tied down correctly, and deliver them to the flightline safely," said Sergeant Taylor. "We also do quality control. We receive technical data from Navy personnel and make sure the assets are 100 percent serviceable."
During RIMPAC, when the Navy needs large quantities of mines delivered, the Air Force provides the heavy bombers that can support a number of missions.

"Navy pilots usually fly the mines in smaller aircraft," said Sergeant Taylor. "For this exercise, the Air Force provides U.S. Pacific Command with the heavy bombers in order to deliver these munitions in large quantities. Through this process, the B-52 pilots also get the chance to learn how to drop ordnance in an environment that they usually don't drop them in - water."

According to Sergeant Taylor, the whole RIMPAC experience is considered rare training for 69th EBS B-52 crews and maintainers who only work with Navy ordinance on occasion.

The 69th EBS is currently deployed to Andersen from Minot AFB, N.D., in support of PACOM's Continuous Bomber Presence to maintain security and stability in the Western Pacific.

"Supporting the B-52s in their missions for the CBP is already unique in itself," he said. "That is why I feel very privileged to be here and directly contributing to the RIMPAC exercise."

One of RIMPAC's objectives is to sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world's oceans. Being part of a maritime exercise enhanced the Airmen's appreciation of their Naval counterparts.

"In this exercise, we had the opportunity to see how the Navy produces their munitions and effectively work as a team," said Staff Sgt. Justin Williams, 36th MUNS conventional maintenance supervisor. "This shows that there are other ways to solve problems, other tools to work on assets and different ways get the job done."

The RIMPAC exercise tests, evaluates and demonstrates the maritime capabilities of the U.S. and the participating nations. It is also a stage where servicemembers in Guam can present themselves as key players on a global scale.