18th MUNS keeps PACAF armed, ready
KADENA AIR BASE, Japan-- -- At the base newcomer's brief, residents are shown how four separate Air Force bases from the Pacific can fit inside Kadena thanks to its expansive, 5,900-acre munitions storage area.
Although most are aware that the largest conventional munitions storage area in the Air Force is attached to Kadena, few outside the 18th Munitions Squadron know what happens within the area's dense jungle.
Not many know, for example, that in addition to maintenance and inspections, 18th MUNS is responsible for shipping and receiving assets by air and sea to other bases in need as well as in support of the Afloat Prepositioned Fleet, floating stocks of munitions positioned around the globe. Although they have the capability to ship assets worldwide, they are generally kept within the Pacific theater.
In addition, Airmen are not the only service members working in the munitions area. U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Japan Air Self-Defense Force personnel work within the compound as well, although they don't necessarily work together.
"We do not perform maintenance with the other services," said Master Sgt. Jonathon Shealy, 18th MUNS NCO in charge of precision guided munitions.
Shealy went on to explain that although they don't directly work together, 18th MUNS Airmen support other branches by providing facilities, operating locations and some basic resources.
The PGM flight Shealy is in charge of is primarily responsible for supporting Kadena's F-15 Eagles with munitions, although working on F-15-related projects only accounts for a little more than half of their workload.
"A lot of our work is maintenance and inspections," Shealy said. "We also perform testing and a lot of shipping and receiving."
Inspecting, testing and maintaining assets are common duties throughout the 18th MUNS, with the assets often being the major difference.
The 18th MUNS conventional munitions maintenance unit is responsible for the inspection and maintenance of countermeasures such as the MJU-10 flare, which is deployed to distract heat-seeking missiles fired at aircraft from the ground.
Senior Airman Pierre Johnson-Alexander, 18th MUNS CMM crew chief, said that there is always work to be done, even if there aren't a lot of orders to fulfill. During high-demand times, the CMM flight puts the countermeasures together and prepares them for deploying squadrons or those leaving for temporary duty.
When the operations tempo is a bit slower, they inspect the countermeasures and maintain readiness by disposing of expired munitions and always being prepared to assemble them when the time comes.
Whether inspecting assets or supporting a fighter squadron during a deployment or temporary duty, 18th MUNS is constantly working to maintain readiness in order to support the Pacific mission and help deliver unmatched combat power to armed forces in the Pacific.