Armory personnel keep SF troops geared for mission

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Dillon White
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
While some work areas are a mix of mouse clicks and printer noise, the armory resonates with the sounds of sliding charging handles, popping firing pins and closing ammo boxes. The filing cabinets reach from floor to ceiling, holding weapons instead of papers. 

The 341st Security Support Squadron armory personnel issue and receive 150 to 300 weapons a day, and it houses more than 2,200 small arms weapons and 250,000 rounds of ammunition including tear gas, smoke and high explosive grenades, M-9 pistols, M-4 carbine rifles, M-16A2 rifles, M-240B machine guns, M-249 machine guns, MK-19 and M-203 grenade launchers and more. 

"I love it," said Senior Airman Ryan Morse, 341st SSPTS armorer as he function checked an M-4 carbine. "To be back here with the type of leadership and the mentoring I've had, it's been a pretty special experience." 

The armory's mission is to arm the largest security forces group in the Air Force - everyday. 

To accomplish this, the largest Air Force armory in the continental United States utilizes a well-organized system. 

The armorers first ensure the security forces Airmen are qualified to carry the weapon assigned to them. Twenty-four hours prior to an Airman's on-duty time, a flight roster is sent to the armory. Armorers reference individual weapon's qualification requirements and ensure they are in good standing with the personnel reliability program. 

"It's like a [video store]," said Tech. Sgt. David Moore, 341st SSPTS NCO in charge of the armory. "Security forces members come to the window and tell us their choice and we get it for them, but we hand out guns instead of movies." 

Security Forces members carry cards with their assigned weapon information and location in the armory. After the armorer receives the card, they pull the weapon from a set of wheeled racks that dominate the armory's floor space. The armorer then places the member's card in the empty space, clears the weapon and hands it to the Airman.
Similar to rewinding a VHS before returning it, a weapon must be cleaned and cleared by the security forces Airman, then function-checked by an armorer before it is returned to the shelf. 

The 12 Airmen in charge of this $6.5 million arsenal claim Air Force core values and attention to detail are paramount in the successful completion of their mission. 

"I can go through all of them, integrity first; you are in charge of so much, if you screw up you have to tell somebody. Your leadership will always back you up as long as you're honest," Airman Morse said. "Service before self; I help every single cop before I take lunch. I have 15 minutes to eat lunch. We are on call 24 hours a day. If there is an exercise or mission, not only do we get called in, but our leadership does too. It doesn't matter if it is 2 a.m., we have to come in - no matter what." 

As for excellence in all we do, the two armorers were in agreement that it applies in the area of attention to detail, whether it their strict adherence to operating instructions or maintaining a well-organized armory. 

"Attention to detail is part of the job description," Sergeant Moore said. "The main thing this job requires is attention to detail. Small things matter. Someone has to account for every single gun or bullet." 

While the Airmen in the armory do not post to the field, they get to meet every security forces member on base, and gain valuable experience in their job. 

"I've really learned how to pay attention to detail and work under pressure," Airman Morse said. "I'd like to think the mission starts with us; that's the attitude I bring to the job. They can't go out and accomplish the mission until we give them what they need."