An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | June 22, 2012

Afghanistan: South Carolina Air Guard "Swamp Foxes" ensure effective air support firepower

By Air National Guard Tech. Sgt. Stephen Hudson 169th Fighter Wing

KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - The work is hot and dusty for the "Ammo Dawgs" of the South Carolina Air National Guard's 169th Fighter Wing currently assigned to the 451st Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron here, and though it occurs behind the scenes it's crucial – others count on it.

Supplying firepower to South Carolina Air Guard F-16 Fighting Falcons, these Airmen work tirelessly here at the Tri-national Ammunition Supply Point, ensuring that ground forces can rely on the air support overhead to put the firepower where it's needed.

"We build the bombs that make the planes lethal," said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Wendell Rollins, a munitions specialist from the 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C. "There are times we load an aircraft and we know in just a few minutes it is going to take off for a mission."

The ordinance is a life saver for the guys on the ground and the Airmen who build the munitions know their work can mean life or death for Soldiers and Marines who need the ordinance to work right the first time and every time.

The mission of the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing is that of a persistent powerful presence, and the members of the 169th Fighter Wing, who are deployed here in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, are at the leading edge of that mission. The "Swamp Fox" F-16 pilots provide close air support and their role is critical to the ground troops they may never meet.

Work goes on around the clock at the Tri-National Ammunition Supply Point seven days a week, building primarily GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munitions and GBU-54 Laser JDAMs. They also work with anything on the F-16 including 20mm rounds, chaff, and flares.

Since the "Swamp Foxes" have rotated to Kandahar Airfield in April they have built more than 25,000 pounds of munitions.

"It is serious business," said Air Force Senior Airman Sherman Padgett, a munitions specialist also currently assigned to the 451st EMXS. "Someone is counting on these bombs, and if they don't function then our guys could be dying."

The hard work of the munitions troops is not lost on the pilots who count on the work.

"The people in munitions are directly responsible for the confidence the guys on the ground have in Vipers' efficiency in close air support," said Air Force Capt. John Sparks, an F-16 pilot with the South Carolina Air National Guard's 169th Fighter Wing deployed to Kandahar Airfield. "A lot of trust is put in the weapons working the correct way the first time."

This critical work will go on as long as there is a need and the Airmen who work in munitions will press on knowing the importance and value of what they do.



Related Articles
From left, Command Sgt. Maj. Eric Binstock, North Dakota Army National Guard state command sergeant major; 2nd Lt. Denis Duku, 426th Signal Company; Maj. Gen. Al Dohrmann, adjutant general; Maj. Beth Simek, North Dakota bilateral affairs officer for Ghana; Lt. Col. Jarrod Simek, U.S. Special Operations Command Africa, and Lt. Col. Mark McEvers take a photo at the 20th-anniversary celebration of North Dakota and the Republic of Ghana's partnership in the State Partnership Program, Feb. 22, 2024, in Accra, Ghana. North Dakota and Ghana are one of 18 partnerships in Africa.
North Dakota National Guard Celebrates 20-year Ghana Partnership
By Sgt. Michaela Granger, | Feb. 23, 2024
ACCRA, Ghana – The North Dakota National Guard celebrated its 20-year partnership with Ghana in the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program Feb. 22.The partnership, the third-oldest in Africa,...

Air National Guard security forces participate in a mass casualty event at the PATRIOT 24 exercise at Combined Arms Collective Training Facility, Camp Shelby, Mississippi, Feb. 19, 2024. The disaster-response training exercise was conducted by National Guard units working with federal, state and local emergency management agencies and first responders.
National Guard Conducts Patriot Exercise in Mississippi
By Maj. Sabrina Dalton, | Feb. 22, 2024
CAMP SHELBY, Miss. – The National Guard conducted a disaster readiness exercise with state and county emergency management agencies and industry partners Feb. 18-22.PATRIOT is a joint, interagency exercise sponsored by the...

Randy Kee, director of the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies, speaks with Col. T. Galbadrakh, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Mongolian Armed Forces, during a visit to the center on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Feb. 14, 2024. Galbadrakh's visit, coordinated through the Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program, underscores the program's evolution into a vital instrument for bolstering U.S. security cooperation on the global stage.
Mongolian Colonel Visits Arctic Security Center, Alaska Partners
By Amber Kurka, | Feb. 22, 2024
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Col. T. Galbadrakh, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Mongolian Armed Forces, visited the Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies Feb. 14 in a step toward increased...