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Guard unit one-stop shop for everything that goes boom

Staff Sgt. Angela Earp, 140th Wing conventional maintenance crew chief, left, supervises Airman 1st Class Cameron Dillavou, 140th Wing conventional maintenance crew member, as he lifts the adapter head of the Universal Ammunition Loading System before connecting it to the table Aug. 1, 2013, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.  The UALS hold 1,525 rounds of 20mm ammunition used by F-16 Fighting Falcons. The 140th Wing handles the munitions needs of units across the Front Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

Staff Sgt. Angela Earp, 140th Wing conventional maintenance crew chief, left, supervises Airman 1st Class Cameron Dillavou, 140th Wing conventional maintenance crew member, as he lifts the adapter head of the Universal Ammunition Loading System before connecting it to the table Aug. 1, 2013, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The UALS hold 1,525 rounds of 20mm ammunition used by F-16 Fighting Falcons. The 140th Wing handles the munitions needs of units across the Front Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Shaunna Reed, 140th Wing conventional maintenance crew chief, inspects ammunition before it is loaded into the Universal Ammunition Loading System Aug. 1, 2013, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.  The UALS hold 1,525 rounds of 20mm ammunition used by F-16 Fighting Falcons. The 140th Wing handles the munitions needs of units across the Front Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

Tech. Sgt. Shaunna Reed, 140th Wing conventional maintenance crew chief, inspects ammunition before it is loaded into the Universal Ammunition Loading System Aug. 1, 2013, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The UALS hold 1,525 rounds of 20mm ammunition used by F-16 Fighting Falcons. The 140th Wing handles the munitions needs of units across the Front Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

The 140th Wing conventional maintenance element maintains, inspects and loads 20mm ammunition for use on F-16 Fighting Falcons. The 140th Wing, located at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., handles the munitions needs of units across the Front Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

The 140th Wing conventional maintenance element maintains, inspects and loads 20mm ammunition for use on F-16 Fighting Falcons. The 140th Wing, located at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo., handles the munitions needs of units across the Front Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

Airman 1st Class Cameron Dillavou, 140th Wing conventional maintenance crew member, focuses while he runs a pneumatic air gun to spins gears that load 20mm ammunitions into the Universal Ammunition Loading System Aug. 1, 2013, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.  The UALS hold 1,525 rounds of 20mm ammunition used by F-16 Fighting Falcons. The 140th Wing handles the munitions needs of units across the Front Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

Airman 1st Class Cameron Dillavou, 140th Wing conventional maintenance crew member, focuses while he runs a pneumatic air gun to spins gears that load 20mm ammunitions into the Universal Ammunition Loading System Aug. 1, 2013, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The UALS hold 1,525 rounds of 20mm ammunition used by F-16 Fighting Falcons. The 140th Wing handles the munitions needs of units across the Front Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

After being put on the 20mm ammunition loading table, rounds travel down the snaking belt into the Universal Ammunition Loading System Aug. 1, 2013, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The UALS hold 1,525 rounds of 20mm ammunition used by F-16 Fighting Falcons. The 140th Wing handles the munitions needs of units across the Front Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

After being put on the 20mm ammunition loading table, rounds travel down the snaking belt into the Universal Ammunition Loading System Aug. 1, 2013, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The UALS hold 1,525 rounds of 20mm ammunition used by F-16 Fighting Falcons. The 140th Wing handles the munitions needs of units across the Front Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

The 140th Wing precision guided missile element maintains, inspects and tests missile systems at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The AGM-65 Maverick missile is designed to as an air-to-ground weapon system used on the F-16 Fighting Falcons. The 140th Wing handles the munitions needs of units across the Front Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

The 140th Wing precision guided missile element maintains, inspects and tests missile systems at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The AGM-65 Maverick missile is designed to as an air-to-ground weapon system used on the F-16 Fighting Falcons. The 140th Wing handles the munitions needs of units across the Front Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

Senior Airman Dylan Larsen, 140th Wing precision guided munitions crew member, left, works with Master Sgt. Bradley Mercil, 140th Wing production superintendent, to test an AGM-65 Maverick missile Aug. 2, 2013, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The AGM-65 is designed as an air-to-ground weapon system used on the F-16 Fighting Falcons. The 140th Wing handles the munitions needs of units across the Front Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

Senior Airman Dylan Larsen, 140th Wing precision guided munitions crew member, left, works with Master Sgt. Bradley Mercil, 140th Wing production superintendent, to test an AGM-65 Maverick missile Aug. 2, 2013, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The AGM-65 is designed as an air-to-ground weapon system used on the F-16 Fighting Falcons. The 140th Wing handles the munitions needs of units across the Front Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

The 140th Wing precision guided missile element maintains, inspects and tests missile systems at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. A missile test set cable connector is the point where the test system connects to the missile being.  The test system is used to test the AGM-65 Maverick missile which is designed to as an air-to-ground weapon system used on the F-16 Fighting Falcons. The 140th Wing handles the munitions needs of units across the Front Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

The 140th Wing precision guided missile element maintains, inspects and tests missile systems at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. A missile test set cable connector is the point where the test system connects to the missile being. The test system is used to test the AGM-65 Maverick missile which is designed to as an air-to-ground weapon system used on the F-16 Fighting Falcons. The 140th Wing handles the munitions needs of units across the Front Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

A missile test system is prepped by the 140th Wing precision guided missile element to run an AGM-65 Maverick missile test Aug. 2, 2013, Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The AGM-65 is designed to as an air-to-ground weapon system used on the F-16 Fighting Falcons. The 140th Wing handles the munitions needs of units across the Front Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

A missile test system is prepped by the 140th Wing precision guided missile element to run an AGM-65 Maverick missile test Aug. 2, 2013, Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The AGM-65 is designed to as an air-to-ground weapon system used on the F-16 Fighting Falcons. The 140th Wing handles the munitions needs of units across the Front Range. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Nestled in the back corner of the base and chock full of explosives, the Buckley Munitions Storage Area houses some of the most critical weapon systems the Air Force has to offer -- Ammo Airmen.

Munitions systems Airmen work with everything from bombs to bullets and everything in between. They maintain the functionality of these weapons and build new ones when the mission calls for it. These munitions range from the cheapest bullets to half-a-million dollar missiles.

At Buckley, the 140th Munitions Flight, 140th Wing, Colorado Air National Guard, handles the base's munitions needs. However, this Guard unit serves more than just the wing. It fulfills the needs of the 140th Wing's geographically separated units and the 460th Space Wing, in addition to others.

"We make sure the munitions requirements for everyone in the state of Colorado are met," said Chief Master Sgt. Ed Hauschild, 140th Wing Munitions Storage Area NCO in charge and munitions accountable systems officer. "We requisition and make sure everything is serviceable and make sure that the munitions are delivered on time. We enable these organizations to be able to fulfill their mission. Everyone is part of the team."

However, none of these units could be supplied if it was not for the people in the MSA, the chief explained. With eight unique functions handling the daily munitions operations, each aspect plays a critical role in keeping the munitions storage area running smooth.

Tech. Sgt. Shaunna Reed, 140th Wing conventional maintenance crew chief, believes her section has a significant impact on the mission.

"I feel this is the meat and potatoes of what Ammo does," Reed said. "What we build here is the end product of what gets dropped. It really gives me a sense of accomplishment."

Not only is she an NCO in the bomb dump, but she has earned a Master's Degree in Educational Psychology. Wearing both of these hats is something she sees as a blessing during her service commitment.

"I feel like being a leader is something you should strive toward, and as a supervisor and crew chief, I wanted to make sure I was pulling in everyone strengths," the crew chief added. "It's something I learned in class and wanted to use out here in the Guard."

Ammo Airmen take on the unique challenges of 23 separate custody accounts that require focus not only the job, but also on safety.

"We work with chemicals, industrial hazards and the obvious explosives," explained Master Sgt. Bradley Mercil, 140th Wing production superintendent. "We use personal protective equipment, and the training is the biggest part of staying safe. We use the technical orders, because if we don't, stuff is going to blow up and people are going to die; it's as simple as that."

Despite the danger and responsibility associated with Ammo, munitions members share a common bond they call Ammo Pride.

"We have a culture of pride that starts from tech school," the chief said. "Being that we are usually on the other side of the base away from everyone else for safety because of what we store, and because we are often left alone out here, we grow closer together as a group.

"Everybody has pride in their job, but maybe in AMMO, we are just a little bit louder."
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