RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — The 86th Munitions Squadron (MUNS) team has been busier than normal recently as they have just shipped dozens of international shipping containers as part of an exercise called Turbo Containerized Ammunition Distribution System 2010, or TURBOCADS June 24.
The Department of Defense began efforts in 1994 to develop an overseas commercial containerized ammunition distribution system. TURBOCADS has developed into a movement that involves not only Airmen, but also heavy coordination and support from the Army and commercial transportion carriers.
While the actual munition movement was completed in five days, planning for TURBOCADS 2010 began in November 2009. This was the first movement of this size in five years.
In the months leading up to the actual movement of the assets, senior munitions technicians began working with soldiers from the 21st Theater Support Command to deliver the shipments for transportation onto boats headed for the U.S.
"After nearly 10 years of sitting idle and taking up usable storage space some munitions, like old bullets, are being moved making room for other, newer assets," said Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Gary Marsh, 86th MUNS materiel flight chief, who has 23 years munitions experience.
Other munitions from Ramstein will be shipped to various locations throughout Europe as part of the realignment of assets in the U.S. Air Forces in Europe command.
"The Global Ammunition Control Point at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, directs the movement of munitions throughout the world based on generated unit requirements," said Air Force Staff Sgt. Elliot West, 86th MUNS munitions accountability assistance non-commissioned officer in charge. "We report through the Combat Ammunition System, and Hill says based on those requirements where asset will go. Sometimes, like TURBOCADS, those requirements generate movements, but this is the largest one during my time here."
To complete a movement of this size the effort consisted of 18 munitions storage Airmen, assisted by seven Airmen from the 86th Logistics Readiness Squadron Travel Movement Office. Two of the 86th LRS Airmen were carpenters who built blocking and bracing for the munitions inside the containers and two were shipping specialist who had direct contact setting up the international shipment. In addition, there was countless other behind the scene technicians, like AFK or ammunitions accountability technicians, helping with things like stockpile inventories and inspections. Munitions control personnel also help through granting access to each of the storage facilities.
"We are loading ISO containers for international shipment," said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Andrew Clancy, 86th MUNS assistant NCOIC of munitions storage. "This is a USAFE command realignment, this has been a large operation for us, but it enables us to clear up some storage space."
TURBOCADS 2010 is a large enough movement that everyone from the most senior to the youngest Airman in the 86th MUNS plays a role.
Air Force Airman 1st Class Daniel Jones, an 86th MUNS ammunition technician, has been in Air Force since May 2009.
"I have been driving forklifts, banding containers together, I pretty much help with anything my crew chief needs," said Jones, who helped package cruise missiles. "This is the first time in my ammo career that I have been in a movement of this size."
Coming in at 3 a.m. and working until 3 p.m. to get the movement preparation, crew briefs, vehicle check outs, gather tools and head out to open the structures may seem like the beginnings of a busy day, but for Airman Jones it is all part of a day's work.
Sometimes being a 2W0 in the 86th MUNS encourages them to be real multi-taskers supporting exercises, flightline operations and real-world shipping of weapons, but TURBOCADS brings it all into perspective. It is all about learning experiences and making room for new munitions.
"I actually did a tour at 3rd Air Force before this assignment. It was interesting to get the bigger-picture perspective and then return to base level management," Marsh said. "This type of movement is just the thing that enables us to continue to improve our processes here."