MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. --
What makes Moody’s combat aircraft a force to be reckoned with? Is it their design and capabilities or the pilot’s expertise?
Although one could make a case for each – one group of 40 Airmen would argue the answer is ultimately the bullets, bombs and missiles that show adversaries their lethalness.
Responsible for this arsenal of damage-inflicting munitions is the 23d Equipment Maintenance Squadron’s munitions flight conventional section.
“We [enable] our pilots to dominate with airpower alongside our firepower which keeps them ready to attack, defend or rescue,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Cadarius Woodard, 23d EMS conventional munitions crew member. “Our section is nicknamed ‘the glory,’ because we have great pride in our big impact to the mission. Without ammo and [the conventional section], Moody’s [flying mission] would basically be like a fancy airline company.”
Capt. James Knauss, 74th Fighter Squadron A-10C Thunderbolt II pilot, agrees that without munitions, the A-10’s ability to perform close-air support would be non-existent.
“If we didn’t have bombs, bullets and missiles, the A-10 would be a 40,000 pound piece of metal in the sky without the ability to help anyone,” said Knauss. “We couldn’t go into a combat environment without [attack weapons] and the use of chaff and flare because they are our primary means of protecting ourselves against enemy threats.
“All of these assets are vital and without munitions, there wouldn’t be an A-10 mission,” Knauss added. “Munitions are the reason why we remain relevant in the fight.”
Knowing that their munitions are heavily relied on to put bombs on target and keep the bad guys at bay is rewarding, says Tech. Sgt. Dennis Wright, 23d EMS conventional munitions inspector. He says that the section’s daily operations of consistent, accurate training is the main focus.
“We build, maintain, inspect and test explosives, which calls for the highest attention to detail and safety precautions,” said Wright. “Before our arsenal can be used to inflict damage and deter enemy threats, we have to proficiently perform these tasks so that we are keeping ourselves, the flightline and the whole base safe.
“Maintaining these standards helps give our pilots a peace of mind,” Wright added. “Our serviceable munitions are inspected to the highest standards, which allows them to focus on their mission, whether they’re conducting training with inert practice bombs or dealing with wartime, in-theater operations.”
With the multitude of aircraft ascending into the South Georgia skies, aircrew’s training at home station and overseas demand a lot of munition use. Wright says that although this presents many challenges for the section’s equipment and personnel needs, it’s an obstacle they are more than capable of overcoming.
“With great expectations comes great responsibility, and we treat every day as the same no matter if we are experiencing normal or high-tempo operations,” said Wright. “We stay proficient by always training, which is our number one focus. I’ve been in 13 years and always emphasize the need to train because you can always learn something new. We need to be just as trained and focused as our aircrew counterparts to uphold our standard.”
By living out this standard and reiterating the importance and purpose of the conventional ammo mission, Woodard says ‘the glory’ remains alive and well in the section.
“I come in motivated every day because the principles of maintaining munitions and how what we do is important is instilled in me,” said Woodard. “I take pride in hearing someone give praise about one of our A-10’s. It’s one thing to hear about your impact from your work peers, but to have it be said by soldiers or marines in a deployed environment is when you really embrace the conventional ammo mission and ‘bask in the glory.’”