JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii –
The 15th Maintenance Squadron C-17 Munitions Flight is working around the clock to provide munitions support for Rim of the Pacific 2014.
Since the beginning of the exercise June 26 the flight has checked in munitions for more than 60 aircraft and provided support and infrastructure for more than 100 tons of munitions and cargo.
Master Sgt. Michael Stephens, 15th MXS Munitions Flight chief, said his team puts the "force" in Air Force.
"We're a big part of the air components involvement in RIMPAC because we enable the fire power for all the players," he said. "Without Ammo, there would just be a bunch of flying observation platforms (aircraft) around without much to do."
However, Stephens said playing host for all the Air Force munitions during RIMPAC exponentially increases the work load.
"We started preparing for RIMPAC months ago," he said. "Ammo normally has a huge logistical footprint and it takes a lot of coordination to plan and execute what is required to make the mission happen. Moving personnel, cargo and munitions to a location and then providing AMMO to the warfighter in quick succession takes careful orchestration."
Stephens said RIMPAC has brought a larger assortment of munitions to JBPHH.
"Ammo is ammo, he said. "There are differences in munitions, but safety, building, and moving munitions are about the same worldwide, so we're basically doing more of what we normally do on a day to day basis including issuing, inspecting and storing munitions."
In addition to the nine Airmen and civilian personnel who typically man the flight, there are 62 additional munitions personnel deployed from six units here in support of RIMPAC.
"Working with the visiting units for RIMPAC has been a great success," said Stephens. "The multilateral, international integration has been almost seamless."
Senior Airman Michael Riffe, 15th MXS Munitions Flight munitions custody account manager, said the limited amount of work space has brought the team closer as they work together to get the job done.
"RIMPAC has been great for networking with my peers," he said. "I've been able to meet new people, see how things function at other bases and pick up knowledge about things I don't normally get to see here, such as how things work at fighter bases, and how everyone works toward getting the same overall mission accomplished."