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Ammo makes explosive impact on B-52 mission

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Erica Stewart
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
The 96th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron here, with their B-52 Stratofortress long-range bombers, have the capability of launching missions from Andersen to any location at any time and to anywhere.

The B-52 can carry 70,000 pounds of the widest array of weapons in the U.S inventory.

This devastating flying arsenal would be nothing without the Airmen of the 36th Munitions Squadron conventional maintenance unit.

Conventional maintenance Airmen take an empty shell of a bomb and turn it into thousands of pounds of precision destruction.

"The conventional maintenance unit assembles bombs and bands together pallets of bombs for storage and delivery," said Airman 1st Class Casey Carrano, 36th Munitions Squadron munitions systems technician.

According to an official fact sheet, conventional maintenance is responsible for the construction, maintenance and testing of all conventional air-to-ground munitions used on aircraft, ranging from chaff and flares to cannon ammunition and guided bombs.

Before conventional maintenance Airmen can bid "bon voyage!" to these fatal passengers, they must first inspect, and then build.

"First you have to prep the empty bombs and make sure that they're ready to go by making sure that it has main explosives in it and a fuse," said Airman Carrano.

The whole process can take anywhere from five to 30 minutes, depending on the type of munition and its specifications.

"After the bomb has been inspected, you then add the fins or fin kit, which helps guide the weapon, and then set up army wire to the model aircraft the bomb will be carried," Airman Carrano said.

Though the job is technical and sometimes physically demanding, the reward is in the product.

"The reason I love my job is because I love watching something that I've built be loaded onto an airplane with the knowledge that what I've done has made a direct impact to the Air Force's mission." Airman Carrano said.

On the receiving end of this mission, the 96th EBS understands that they wouldn't be able to support the continuous bomber presence without the conventional maintenance Airmen.

"Quite frankly, without ammo the B-52 would be just another pretty airplane," said Lt. Col. James Melvin, 96th EBS director of operations. "However, with the men and women of ammo and what they bring to the fight, the B-52 becomes the messenger of doom that it's known for and allows us to be a credible deterrent with a full spectrum of response."