Putting rounds in the chamber: 90th MUNS

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Jason Wiese
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
The 90th Munitions Squadron, a relatively new squadron to the 90th Missile Wing, comprises Airmen whose work directly affects the nation's ability to provide nuclear deterrence.

They maintain and account for ICBM payloads and provide conventional munitions to anyone armed on F. E. Warren.

"The Minuteman III is built to get a payload to a certain destination," said Maj. Felix Moret, 90th MUNS commander. "The actual business end of the Minuteman is what we maintain."

The maintenance of ICBM payloads is handled by the 90th MUNS Maintenance Flight.

"We do all the maintenance on the re-entry system," said Tech. Sgt. Kevin Stehle, 90th MUNS bay chief.

One Airmen who maintains ICBM payloads, Airman 1st Class Cody Pollock, 90th MUNS nuclear munitions specialist, has spent much of his eight-month tenure at F. E. Warren training and keeping his job knowledge up-to-date, Pollock said.

The 90th MUNS places high emphasis on training and remaining certified. While currently in the 90th MUNS Systems Flight, which provides training to 90th MUNS personnel, Pollock is usually in the 90th MUNS Maintenance Flight, which performs the actual maintenance of ICBM payloads, he said.

"We get looked at closely," he explained. "Our quality assurance [personnel] are pretty strict on how we do things."

According to Pollock, his job helps ensure the functionality of F. E. Warren's arsenal. The ICBMs provide a safety net -- a final deterrent against potential adversaries.

"Putting it simply, I turn wrenches," he said. "We make sure all the ICBM payloads we put out there are up to standards.

"You can't field anything that doesn't work. It brings into question everything out there. It brings into question our safety net."

"It's a zero-defect culture," Stehle said. "We strive to fix everything without overlooking anything, not even small details."

"We also have ammo troops," explained Moret. "They provide accountability for conventional munitions on base."

The ammo troops of the 90th MUNS Materiel Flight, provide and account for the conventional arms, such as 5.56 mm rounds, grenades and C4, used by security forces personnel, said Staff Sgt. Jonathan Tyler, 90th MUNS Materiel Flight.

"Anything they have, they get from us," he said. "We provide all the ammunition you see on base. We also provide nuclear certified components."

At other bases in the Air Force, conventional arms are needed in greater amounts, so their conventional munitions units are larger in comparison to the 90th MUNS Materiel Flight, Moret said.

"We have an ammo flight whereas other bases have entire ammo squadrons," he said.

"Small squadron, big job," Tyler added.

Another important mission of the 90th MUNS is accounting for ICBM payloads. This task is the responsibility of their Nuclear Accountability Reporting Section.

"We account for ICBM payloads -- those on mission trips, weapons in storage and what's being actively worked on," said Senior Airman Carter Strader, 90th MUNS NARS.

In addition to entire payloads, NARS also accounts for payload components, he added.

Being able to account for every ICBM payload is important to nuclear surety because it lets us know what the 90th MW has and where it is located, he said.

The 90th MUNS has been a part of the 90th MW since Dec. 1, 2011, but has been providing its services to the 90th MW before that as a tenant unit known as the 15th MUNS. The stand up of Air Force Global Strike Command is what led to the change, Moret said.

Although new, the 90th MUNS has a culture within the Air Force culture, said Pollock.

"We're a family that annoys each other but works together well," he laughed.