Arming the fight

  • Published
  • By Devin Doskey
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs

Regardless of the weather, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, more than 2,500 security forces members protect Malmstrom weapons systems facilities infrastructure across a 13,800 square mile missile complex.

To accomplish this mission, security forces personnel need to be equipped with the necessary tools.

The 341st Security Support Squadron armory is responsible for maintaining and providing the equipment to defend and fight.

 "We are accountable for all weapons, ammo and equipment," said Staff Sgt. Zackery Waitkus, 341st SSPTS armorer. "Our mission is to sustain the lethal force of our defenders."

The 341st SSPTS armory is the largest 24/7 armory in Air Force Global Strike Command. In order to support the high operations tempo, 16 personnel work 12 hour shifts.

A typical shift in the armory includes weapons inventory, change over, arming, and de-arming security forces members. 

“Before we issue any equipment, we check the duty roster to make sure each member has completed the necessary training, they are qualified on the weapons system and verify they are not on the do not arm list,” Waitkus said.

“We are the last line of defense to make sure those who are unfit to bear arms don’t,” said Senior Airman Jason Mendoza-Anaya, 341st SSPTS armorer. “Besides issuing and maintaining equipment, we serve as an additional layer of continuity.”

The Airmen who work in the armory have previously spent time working in other security forces careers. They know what it is like to be on the receiving end of weapons and gear issue.

“Working in the armory has allowed me see a different side of the security forces mission,” said Mendoza-Anaya. “Here, I see how important the little things are for mission success.”

Keeping track of the small details are key to maintaining inventory and running operations smoothly, he said.

 "Attention to detail is the name of the game,” Waitkus said. "Not only are we responsible for each weapon and piece of equipment we issue, we also keep track of every single bullet."

The weapons inventory is tracked daily and includes M-9 pistols, M-18 pistols, M-4 carbine rifles, M-240B machine guns, M-249 machine guns, MK-19 and M-203 grenade launchers and more.

Recently added to 341st SSPTS armory, is the M-18 modular handgun system. The addition of the M-18 pistol is part of the reconstitute defenders initiative, which is designed to modernize weapons and increase warfighter capability.

In addition to security forces equipment, the armory also offers courtesy storage for Airmen preparing for deployments and temporary storage for Airmen living in the dorms.

“Most of our job is detail work done behind the closed doors of the armory,” said Mendoza-Anaya. “We make sure Airmen have the right equipment for the mission and help increase their ability to fight.”