MCAS IWAKUNI, Japan -- Pilots and their aircraft may get munitions on target, but it?s the Marines of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 Ordnance working behind the scenes who ensure the tools are available and operational.
There are four sections, within MALS-12 Ordnance, that work together to supply station combat squadrons with the weapons needed to carry out their air-to-air and air-to ground missions.
The gun and rack sections provide the means to launch ordnance, while the munitions and aviation stock reporting sections provide the raw materials ? bombs, missiles and rounds.
"The gun shop maintains 20 and 25 mm gun systems and support equipment," said Sgt. Chris Williamson, MALS-12 gun shop work center supervisor. "These types of systems belong to the variety of fighter attack aircraft here."
Each system is tested, wrapped up and set aside for the squadrons, in case a system needs to be replaced. Each fighter squadron then picks up the system for use.
If the mission requires more than putting rounds down range, then the rack shop helps the fast movers put bombs and missiles on target.
The rack shop has 14 special mounting systems that hold each kind of ordnance or equipment in place under the wings or fuselage of the aircraft.
"We repair and troubleshoot aviation armament equipment, pylons, bomb racks and missile launchers," said Sgt. Josh Martin, work center supervisor. "We're the link for anything explosive on the bird."
Once these systems are in place and working properly, it takes another section to arm them.
"The munitions section is responsible for all the ordnance needs of the squadrons here," said Staff Sgt. Dean Jacobs, aviation ordnance systems technician. "Munitions issues all aviation ordnance to the squadrons."
This section is responsible for assembling, inventorying, inspecting, and transporting the munitions to each combat squadron for issue.
Munitions receives an invoice from the aviation stock reporting section, which orders the munitions from the station weapons storage area.
"Basically we are accountants who requisition, receive, issue and track ordnance for all the squadrons on base," said Sgt. Leah Jarona, ASRS clerk. "Our job is to facilitate the combat squadrons requirements for munitions."
Although each shop has a distinct mission, they all pull together to supply squadrons with necessary munitions and equipment needed to accomplish their mission.
Together they ensure bomb racks will release their load, guns are operational, and have the rounds they need. Ordnance Marines may never see results of their work up close, but without ordnance, fighter aircraft would just be an expensive ride.