AMMO (U.S. Air Force)
- Ammo is also a commonly used abbreviation for ammunition or (Aircraft Munitions Maintenance Organization).
The Munitions Systems Specialist career field (AFSC 2W0X1, previously 461X0), commonly referred to as AMMO, is the munitions branch of the U.S. Air Force. It falls under the Maintenance Group within Air Force organizational structures. Although the maintenance group(MXG) utilizes the AFI 21-101 for guidance, the Munitions Flight will additionally reference AFI 21-201.
- 1 Career Field Description
- 2 Ammo Isolation and Culture
- 3 Specific Jobs
- 4 Shakey the Pig
- 5 Duty Stations
- 6 External links
- 7 References
Career Field Description
Various duties include shipping and receiving, building, testing, operating, protecting, inspecting, storing and performing maintenance on all types of conventional munition systems. AMMO personnel also operate and maintain a wide variety of equipment and electronic gear, from pallet jacks, 40-foot (12 m) tractor-trailer combination vehicles, and all-terrain 10,000 pound forklifts, all the way up to 50,000 pound forklifts. The Munitions Storage Area(MSA) can be responsible for munitions from small arms ammunition (for rifles and pistols) up to large-scale guided bombs. Upon graduation from Air Force Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas, Airmen assigned to the field attend an 8-week tech school at Sheppard Air Force Base, Texas. Upon graduation from tech school, the new AMMO apprentice is sent to their assigned duty station.
Ammo Isolation and Culture
Due to safety concerns with the possibility of explosives accidentally cooking off and damaging a large portion of a base, the Munitions Storage Area (or "Bomb Dump" as it is commonly called) is usually isolated or barricaded from the rest of base. At some bases, such as RAF Welford in United Kingdom, the ride to work can take as long as fifty minutes. Isolation from the main base breeds a culture within the Munitions section where the troops go out of their way to take care of their own.
The official motto of the Ammo career field as learned by Ammo troops on the first day of technical training is "If you ain't Ammo, you ain't shit". Often seen abbreviated as I.Y.A.A.Y.A.S. In recent months, however, directives to Ammo Chiefs from Air Force leadership have instructed that "AMMO Calls" will no longer be tolerated at official functions (ALS/NCOA graduations, Awards Banquets, etc.), determining that to allow such rowdiness to occur in public will offend the remainder of the base populace. Most AMMO chiefs appear to disagree with this directive.
The Ammo career field has a very close family mentality. Ammo troops are expected to treat each other as brothers and sisters. They are expected to take care of each other and each other's families in times of need, especially true of the families of troops who are deployed. This also applies to former Ammo troops. Ammo troops are often known to be a rowdy but good-natured crowd with a reputation for drinking. As part of the family mentality and the reputation for drinking, Ammo troops are always expected to make sure other troops make it home safely no matter what hour the call should come, whether they personally provide a ride or arrange for a ride, all Ammo troops are generally held responsible for each other in this matter.
Ammo Challenge coins
Ammo challenge coins come in many shapes and sizes. Normally they are a large metal coin with Ammo related graphics and phrases either printed or stamped on both sides
Once a person becomes an AMMO troop they are considered an AMMO troop for life. It is expected of them to carry an Ammo coin (Also referred to as an "Ammo challenge coin") on their person at all times, on duty and off duty, for the rest of their life. Should any Ammo troop be asked to present their Ammo coin (Known as getting coin checked) at any time by another Ammo troop and they fail to present it, it is expected that the Ammo troop who does not present their coin buys a beverage of choice (normally beer) for the Ammo troop(s) who coin checked them. However if the Ammo troop(s) being coin checked has their coin, the troop(s) who initiated the coin check is expected to buy the Ammo troop(s) that were checked a beverage of choice.
In order to coin check an Ammo troop, the person who initiates the coin check must have an Ammo coin and strike it on an object, normally a table or a bar or even purposely throw it on the ground to initiate the coin check. However if a person inadvertently drops their Ammo coin and fails to catch it before it strikes a surface, they will be considered to be initiating a coin check, and any Ammo troop present will be expected to produce their Ammo coin to Challenge the inadvertent coin check, in which case the troop dropping their coin and any troop not able to present their coin, will be expected to buy the troops who successfully present their coin a beverage of choice. Coin checks can not be performed during duty time.
Currently AMMO has at least nine distinct working areas within the AFSC. While under the current Air Force force structure Munitions personnel only are considered AMMO, the concept of AMMO was much more inclusive throughout the Viet Nam War era including all former 46XX0 career fields, normally under the Munitions Maintenance Squadron (MMS) heading. 461x0 Munitions Maintenance (commonly called BB Stackers), 462x0 Weapons Maintenance (commonly called Loaders or Load Toads), 463x0 Nuclear Weapons Specialist (commonly called Nuke Pukes) and 464x0 Explosive Ordnance Disposal all shared a common heritage and were consolidated under one organization. They worked together, lived in common dormitories, fought together and partied together until the 1980s when the divisive CMU concept was implemented and MMS personnel were farmed out to EMS (Equipment Maintenance Squadron), AGS (Aircraft Generation Squadron) and even Supply Squadron. Now Munitions personnel were ignobly assigned with such diverse and unrelated occupations as Wheel & Tire Maintenance, Aerospace Ground Equipment, Corrosion Control, and Phase Docks often losing the commonality of experience and pride previously achieved under the MMS concept.
The Munitions Flight is organized into three Elements: Production, Material, and Systems. The three elements encompass the the individual shops listed below.
Also known as "TM," or called "Trailer Maintenance." This shop is the hub of all maintenance for the job-specific trailer equipment that is unique to AMMO. Maintenance and Inspections are performed on Munitions Material Handling Equipment (MMHE) such as the MHU-141, MHU-110, LALS, UALS, and the newer MHU-226 trailers. Inspections generally include periodic inspections (for example every 90 days) and supervisory reviews. Inspections are documented on the AFTO form 244.
Precision Guided Munitions
'Missile Shop' or 'PGM' (Precision Guided Munitions) is responsible for the testing and maintenance of all conventional air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions used on aircraft.
'Line-D' drivers are dispatched by Munitions Control and are responsible for the safe and expedient handling and delivery of munitions from the bomb dump, or other storage locations, to aircraft. Drivers are held responsible for the accounting of their equipment and munitions movements via daily reconciliation, or "recon", which is an accounting of all these movements that is verified three ways between the flightline, Munitions Control, the Line-D driver, with a zero percent discrepancy tolerance.
'Conventional' is responsible for the construction, maintenance, and testing of all conventional air-to-ground munitions used on aircraft, ranging from chaff and flare to cannon ammunition as well as guided and unguided bombs. There is a joke among AMMO troops regarding guided vs. unguided bombs. "The Air Force is an equal opportunity employer. Being that we employ smart bombs, dumb bombs as well as retarded bombs." ("Retarded bombs" is a reference to munitions which are assembled with an "Air Inflatable Retarder" fin, which allow for low altitude bombing by slowing the rate at which munitions descend upon their target by means of an inflatable balloon, AKA a "retarder.")
'Control' can be thought of as the nerve center of the bomb dump. Control tracks work crews, coordinates requirements, acts as a liaison for outside agencies, develops war plans, provides oversight for safety and security, and ensures the daily reconciliation of all munitions and related equipment against established inventories. A good control will always know where any assets are.
Storage and Handling
'Storage' is responsible for storing and breaking out munitions required by Conventional Maintenance and Munitions Inspection, and is also responsible for the maintenance of the munitions storage facilities, usually called "igloos", "magazines", or revetments ("revvies"). Storage is also used to transport munitions over public right-of-ways to transfer munitions between different storage or shipping and receiving locations. Storage troops operate the majority of the heavier equipment found in the bomb dump, including "18 wheelers", heavy-rated forklifts, and cranes.
All munitions items at various times need to be inspected for safety and compliance with technical instructions. Specially trained NCOs and Airmen known as Munitions Inspectors accomplish this sometimes tedious task. Inspectors attend Inspector School, which lasts approximately 3 weeks and is usually conducted at the AMMO Schoolhouse located at Sheppard AFB, Texas. However, due to cost restraints, the two major commands of PACAF and USAFE have developed their own schools, allowing the school house the ability to come to the students. Inspectors are required to be appointed in writing by the Munitions Flight Chief after an interview process and a few months of tedious on-the-job training.
'AFK' is responsible for the accountability and logistics for the entire munitions stockpile. Those who worked in this area used to be classified under the 645X0A Supply career field, In 1986 the career field changed to a maintenance career field 465X0 rather than the 461X0 Maintenance career field the rest of AMMO was under. Personnel attended technical school at Lowry AFB, Colorado and arrived at their first base to find themselves standing part-way between the Base Supply world and the world of AMMO. In the early days before automation all Air Force logistics accounts were designated by a three position prefix i.e. AFB (Supplies), AFE (Equipment), AFK (Munitions). Thus this office became known as 'AFK'. With the introduction of automation the 'A' was dropped and the munitions account was identified as 'FK' as used in the automated Standard Base Supply System (SBSS) but the old name 'AFK' still remained. When 645X0A left the Supply career field and became its own career field 465X0, the accountability for munitions needed to be separated from SBSS. The account code was changed to "FV" to reflect accountability under a new, AMMO-specific system: the Combat Ammunition System, or "CAS." This new acronym never really caught on as a nickname the way AFK did and as the new 2W0X1 career field became homogenized, the shop became officially known as either "Accountability" or "Munitions Ops", though it is still referred to as "AFK" by most Ammo troops.
Other specialized shops
Some shops only exist at one base, or a limited number of bases, and other shops are often combined, depending on the mission of the given base. Examples of such shops are as follows:
TARRP - "Tactical Airmunition Rapid Response Package." 18 MUNS, Kadena AB, Japan and 86 MUNS, Ramstein AB, Germany, implements TARRP. This shop is responsible for keeping bombs and missiles loaded on aircraft pallets ready to be deployed at a moment's notice. The TARRP arsenal consists of munitions including, but not limited to, MK82s, MK84s, BLU109s, AGM-65s, AIM-9s, and AIM-120s.
STAMP - "Standard Air Munitions Package." 649 MUNS, Hill AFB, Utah implements STAMP. Similar to TARRP with the exception that the bombs and missiles are not already loaded onto aircraft pallets.
ISO Maintenance/Fabrication - 18 MUNS, Kadena AB, Japan, repairs ISOs and maintains PACAF's largest AMMO blocking and bracing lumber stockpile. Fabrication personnel, along with their Okinawan counterparts, repair ISOs and construct blocking and bracing for various ISO outloads. They also build wooden furniture for the "bomb-dump" and maintain 18 MUNS haunted house, known as "the haunted castle".
At other bases, Line-D and TM, Conventional and PGM, and even Control and AFK are combined into one shop, and other munitions organizations include nuclear weapons handling and storage.
Shakey the Pig
Shakey the Pig is the mascot of the 36th Air Base Wing's Munitions Squadron. Just within the gate of the bomb dump of Andersen AFB, a pig poke contains a living, wild pig that has become the bomb dump's "official" pet. Shakey has a "pig house" in the shape of a munitions igloo, a small pond, and a porcine play pen. Shakey has gone through numerous "upgrades"- as one pig dies, another wild piglet is caught in the wilds of the bomb dump's jungle and adopted as the next "Shakey". As late as December, 1994, the 36th MUNS was on version "Shakey the 5th", in November, 2006, the bomb dump at Andersen AFB was on version "Shakey the 8th", and as of November, 2009, the 36th MUNS was on "Shakey the 12th". Shakey is considered a dear pet by the AMMO troops of the 36th MUNS,and visitors always stand in invitation to visit and feed him, despite the fact that Shakey is penned within a "Controlled Area". Shakey is well cared for by his fellow AMMO troops, and given medical and dental care by the base vet as needed. His diet is now closely regulated and he is taken care of by AMMO troops. He also has a Papaya tree growing in his pen. As of June 27th 2014 Shakey is MIA, thought to still be roaming the bomb dump, we'll never know.
Shakey appears to be one of three living, sanctioned (unit funds pay for food and health care) mascots of any current units in the U.S. Air Force. LUCY the AMMO dog at Kunsan AFB is also a sanctioned squadron "mascot". Nobody really knows how old she is but as of 2014 she's good and healthy. SLICK the AMMO cat (named after general purpose bombs with conical fins) is also a "mascot" at Kunsan AFB. He is seen only during the day, sunbathing outside of Conventional Maintenance, for at night he is prowling throughout the bomb dump, making sure AMMO troops are safe and sound from any unwanted intruders...and chasing mice of course.
An article on Shakey in Airman Magazine, an official publication of the U. S. Air Force, can be read here:
Active Duty, Reserve, and Air National Guard AMMO personnel can be assigned any of a large number of military bases. Air Force bases that host non-combat aircraft or no aircraft such as Randolph AFB, TX and Vance AFB, OK have their Ammo mission accomplished by Air Force civil service personnel who are primarily made up of retired or prior service AMMO troops. Some past and present AMMO bases include:
(Note: This list may not be all-inclusive)
- Andersen AFB, Guam;
- Barksdale AFB, Louisiana;
- Bergstrom AFB, Texas (CLOSED 1993);
- Beale AFB, California (Home of AFCOMAC);
- Bolling AFB, Washington, DC;
- Buckley AFB, Aurora, CO;
- Burlington IAP, ANGB-VTANG, S. Burlington, VT;
- Carswell AFB, Transferred to the Dept of the Navy and renamed NAS Fort Worth JRB Carswell
- Creech AFB, Nevada;
- Cannon AFB, New Mexico
- Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona;
- Dover AFB, Delaware;
- Dyess AFB, Texas;
- Edwards AFB, California;
- Eglin AFB, Florida;
- Elmendorf AFB, Alaska;
- Ellsworth AFB, South Dakota;
- Eielson AFB, Alaska;
- Fairchild AFB, Washington;
- F.E. Warren AFB, Wyoming;
- George AFB, California; (Closed 1992)
- Gowen Field ANGB, Boise Airport, Boise, Idaho;
- Hickam AFB, Hawaii;
- Hill AFB, Utah;
- Holloman AFB, New Mexico;
- Homestead ARB, Florida;
- Hurlburt Field, Florida;
- Keesler AFB, Mississippi;
- Kirtland AFB, New Mexico;
- Lackland AFB, Texas;
- Langley AFB, Virginia;
- Luke AFB, Arizona;
- Little Rock AFB, Arkansas;
- Lowry AFB, Denver, Colorado (Technical school location, closed 1994)
- Macdill AFB, Florida;
- Malmstrom AFB, Montana;
- McChord AFB, Washington;
- Medina Annex - Lackland/Kelly AFB, Texas;
- Mountain Home AFB, Idaho;
- Minot AFB, North Dakota;
- Moody AFB, Georgia;
- Niagara Falls ARS, Niagara Falls, New York;
- Nellis AFB, Nevada;
- Offutt AFB, Nebraska;
- Pope Field, North Carolina;
- Reno ANGB, Nevada;
- Seymour Johnson AFB, North Carolina;
- Shaw AFB, South Carolina;
- Sheppard AFB, Texas; (Technical school)
- Travis AFB, California;
- Tyndall AFB, Florida;
- Vandenberg AFB, California;
- Wheeler AFB, Hawaii (Transferred to U.S. Army November 1, 1991);
- Whiteman AFB, Missouri;
- Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio;
- Hancock Field ANGB, New York;
- Kunsan AB, South Korea;
- Kwang Ju AB, South Korea;
- Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan;
- Misawa AB, Japan;
- Osan AB, South Korea;
- Yokota AB, Japan;
- Danang AB, Vietnam;
- Tuy Hoa AB, Vietnam;
- Bien Hoa AB, Vietnam;
- Korat AB, Thailand;
- Takhli AB, Thailand;
- Tainan AB, Taiwan;
- Diego Garcia, British Indian Ocean Territory;
- Udorn RTAFB, Thailand;
Clark AB, Philippines (Closed 1991)
- Al Kharj/Prince Sultan Air Base (PSAB), Saudi Arabia; Closed
- Al Udeid, Qatar;
- Dhahran, Saudi Arabia (Khobar Towers - Closed 1996);
- Ali Al Salem, Kuwait;
- Al Dhafra AB, United Arab Emirates;
- Araxos, Greece; closed at the end of May 2001.
- Aviano AB, Italy;
- Bitburg AB, Germany
- Camp Darby, Italy;
- Hahn Air Base, Germany; (Closed in mid-90's)
- Incirlik, Turkey;
- Morbach (Wenigerath) AMMO Storage Area Morbach, Germany; (Closed in 1995)
- Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland; (Closed September, 2006)
- Ramstein AB, Germany;
- RAF Bentwaters, England; (Closed in 1993)
- RAF Woodbridge, England; (Closed in 1993)
- RAF Alconbury, England; (Bomb dump closed 1995)
- RAF Molesworth, England; (GLCM)
- RAF Wethersfield, England; (Closed in 1990)
- RAF Croughton, England; (Host for RAF Welford)
- RAF Welford, England;
- RAF Greenham Common, England; (GLCM closed in 1992)
- RAF Fairford, England; (Standby Base as of Sept. 2010)
- RAF Upper Heyford, England; (Closed in 1994)
- RAF Lakenheath, England;
- RAF Mildenhall, England;
- Rhein-Main AB, Germany; (Closed December, 2005)
- Spangdahlem AB, Germany;
- Torrejon AB, Spain (USAFE withdrew forces from here in 1992, relocating to Aviano AB, Italy)
- Lajes AB, Azores Islands, Portugal
- List of US Air Force bases