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Luke weapons maintainers provide munitions for the mission

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class James Hensley
  • 56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Most everything that can go 'boom' on base has to go through the 56th Equipment Maintenance Squadron here.

The 56th EMS weapons maintenance Airmen manage munitions used by various squadrons on base including the 56th Security Forces Squadron, 56th Civil Engineer Squadron Explosive Ordnance Disposal and the fighter squadrons.

The 56th EMS mission is to provide first-class munitions support to the flightline and the wing, while taking care of their people and developing combat-ready Airmen. EMS plays a critical part in day to day operations for Luke Air Force Base.

"If a unit on base uses firearms, trains with explosives or flies, we provide them with the proper munitions," said Capt. Talon Pope, 56th EMS Munitions Flight commander. "This is why our Airmen prepare munitions ahead of time for possible changes to flight schedules. If a flight training mission changes and has more aircraft than anticipated, our Airmen know what to do to prepare the right amount of munitions for the mission."

There are many types of munitions weapons maintenance Airmen prepare: 20 mm rounds, precision-guided munitions, GBU-12s and more. With safety always being a top priority when handling munitions, Airmen perform all safety practices and standards to the letter to ensure they stay safe and to prevent damage to government property.

"Before our Airmen even touch equipment, they must look through and read each part of the technical orders for the specific task at hand," Pope said. "These technical orders include safety precautions, information about whether what they're working on can explode, and how and where to evacuate to safety."

Munitions Airmen take pride in their work and maintain the highest safety standards, according to Master Sgt. Jeff Mikaio, 56th EMS munitions materiel section chief.

"We build and manage the most reliable munitions," he said. "Our Airmen are very good at what they do and know how to do it safely and proficiently."