Armament shop keeps weapons in the fight

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Chance Babin
  • 380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
The armament back shop in the 380th Expeditionary Aircraft Maintenance Squadron keeps the weapons systems here ready to bring the fight to the enemy whenever aircrews need them.

"We take care of any equipment assigned to the jet that can carry fuel tanks or weapons," said Tech. Sgt. Calyn Coffee, the 380th EAMXS, NCO in charge of armament. "We take care of it and maintain it."

For Coffee and his crew, getting the job done in a timely manner has a direct impact on the mission.

"For real-world combat, without us maintaining all their equipment, they wouldn't be able to fight," he said.

The two main duties for Airmen in the armament shop are working on equipment malfunctions and performing inspections. Most inspections are due once every 18 months.

"When we get a gun system in here, it's critical to the mission," said Coffee, who is deployed to the 380th Air Expeditionary Wing from Royal Air Force Lakenheath, United Kingdom. "We have three days maximum to repair or inspect it. When we inspect it, we tear it down to the smallest component."

The shop is manned 24-hours-a-day with four Airmen on each shift. He said his crew can fully tear down or take apart a gun system in about 12 hours.

"Once we complete our full inspection we call quality-assurance over and they also do a full inspection on the gun system," Coffee said.

Working in a deployed environment is not without its challenges, Coffee said. The entire team shares a portion of a tent to work in, and they have limited equipment.

"Back home we have sand blasters; here we use wire brushes and rags," he said. "We get the job done; but it's more challenging. We have to be innovative here. We can always adapt to wherever we are."

For Coffee, beyond his passion for leading his troops, he knows his small shop has a large influence here.

"You can see direct results of our job," Coffee said. "If we don't put out quality equipment, the jet won't work and that will impact the mission. Without weapons it's just another airline."