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Munitions Airmen provide the means for combat airpower

U.S. Airmen assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron Munitions Flight perform six month inspections on Guided Bomb Unit-54 (GBU-54) munitions at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, June 15, 2015. The 455th EMXS Munitions Flight ensures that every munition loaded onto an F-16 Fighting Falcon will perform as expected when used. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford/Released)

Airmen assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron Munitions Flight perform six-month inspections on GBU-54 munitions at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, June 15, 2015. The 455th EMXS Munitions Flight ensures every munition loaded onto an F-16 Fighting Falcon will perform as expected when used. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford)

A U.S. Airman assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron Munitions Flight performs a six month inspection on Guided Bomb Unit-54 (GBU-54) munition at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, June 15, 2015. The 455th EMXS Munitions Flight ensures that every munition loaded onto an F-16 Fighting Falcon will perform as expected when used. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford/Released)

An Airman assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron Munitions Flight performs a six-month inspection on GBU-54 munition at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, June 15, 2015. The 455th EMXS Munitions Flight ensures every munition loaded onto an F-16 Fighting Falcon will perform as expected when used. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford)

U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Michael Rose, right, and Airman 1st Class James Griffin, both assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron Munitions Flight, complete a six month inspection on a Guided Bomb Unit-54 (GBU-54) munition at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, June 15, 2015. The 455th EMXS Munitions Flight ensures that every munition loaded onto an F-16 Fighting Falcon will perform as expected when used. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford/Released)

Airman 1st Class James Griffin and Senior Airman Michael Rose, both assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron Munitions Flight, complete a six-month inspection on a GBU-54 munition at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, June 15, 2015. The 455th EMXS Munitions Flight ensures every munition loaded onto an F-16 Fighting Falcon will perform as expected when used. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford)

U.S. Air Force Airmen 1st Class Aaron Funck, 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron Munitions Flight munitions technician, completes a six month inspection on a Guided Bomb Unit-54 (GBU-54) munition at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, June 15, 2015. The 455th EMXS Munitions Flight ensures that every munition loaded onto an F-16 Fighting Falcon will perform as expected when used. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford/Released)

Airman 1st Class Aaron Funck, a 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron Munitions Flight munitions technician, completes a six-month inspection on a GBU-54 munition at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, June 15, 2015. The 455th EMXS Munitions Flight ensures every munition loaded onto an F-16 Fighting Falcon will perform as expected when used. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford)

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Luis Soto, 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron Munitions Flight conventional maintenance/precision guided munitions production superintendent, completes a six month inspection on a Guided Bomb Unit-54 (GBU-54) munition at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, June 15, 2015. The 455th EMXS Munitions Flight ensures that every munition loaded onto an F-16 Fighting Falcon will perform as expected when used. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford/Released)

Staff Sgt. Luis Soto, the 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron Munitions Flight conventional maintenance/precision guided munitions production superintendent, completes a six-month inspection on a GBU-54 munition at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, June 15, 2015. The 455th EMXS Munitions Flight ensures every munition loaded onto an F-16 Fighting Falcon will perform as expected when used. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford)

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan (AFNS) -- Munitions Airmen assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Maintenance Squadron make an impact here every day by building the weapons needed for the combat airpower mission.

Every munition loaded onto an F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft at Bagram Airfield is provided by the 455th EMXS Munitions Flight. Without these Airmen, the Fighting Falcons wouldn’t be able to provide combat airpower in Afghanistan.

“Our work here directly affects the entire wing; without munitions it’s hard to complete the combat airpower mission here,” said Staff Sgt. Luis Soto, the 455th EMXS Munitions Flight conventional maintenance/precision guided munitions production superintendent. “We provide the munitions for aircraft to provide support for the ground troops or to hit targets that need to be taken care of.”

A critical part of their job is to inspect each munition to ensure it will perform as expected when used.

“With the weather changing here often we have to make sure all the components on the inside have not been affected by the environment,” Soto said. “The only way to do that is to tear down the bombs and inspect all the components to make sure they are still working. Then we build it back up and test the munition as a whole to make sure it can do what it is meant to do.”

Being in a combat environment allows the munitions Airmen to put their training to the test.

“Coming to Bagram and being able to apply all our knowledge and what we have learned at Aviano (Air Base, Italy) is rewarding,” Soto said. “It’s nice to see a trailer leave with munitions and come back empty. At the end of the day those munitions could have saved Soldiers or hit targets that needed to be destroyed.”

For Senior Airman Michael Rose, a 455th EXMS Munitions Flight conventional maintenance crew chief, Bagram is a familiar place and he said he can see the impact his unit has.

“This is my second time here and it is definitely more fulfilling than a training mission,” Rose said. “We are actually out here doing something. The bombs go out there and they don’t come back. The best part is working with the team here, making sure everything is good and that we are supporting the mission and protecting lives.”

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