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649th Munitions Squadron not slowing down during COVID-19 crisis

Staff Sgt. Mia Blakley sifting through packaging of a box.

Staff Sgt. Mia Blakley, 649th Munitions Squadron, inspects a package for shipping April 8, 2020, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. In response to COVID-19, the 649th MUNS as Hill AFB has adopted new procedures and precautions to balance the safety and health of its Airmen while supporting worldwide warfighter requirements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Airman 1st Class Judson Smith holding an item he's inspecting.

Airman 1st Class Judson Smith, 649th Munitions Squadron, inspects items for shipping April 8, 2020, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. In response to COVID-19, the 649th MUNS as Hill AFB has adopted new procedures and precautions to balance the safety and health of its Airmen while supporting worldwide warfighter requirements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Senior Airman Devon Levesque inspecting boxes on a shelf.

Senior Airman Devon Levesque, 649th Munitions Squadron, inspects items for shipping April 8, 2020, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. In response to COVID-19, the 649th MUNS as Hill AFB has adopted new procedures and precautions to balance the safety and health of its Airmen while supporting worldwide warfighter requirements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Senior Airman Armando Pena typing on a computer keyboard.

Senior Airman Armando Pena, 649th Munitions Squadron, inspects items for shipping April 8, 2020, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. In response to COVID-19, the 649th MUNS as Hill AFB has adopted new procedures and precautions to balance the safety and health of its Airmen while supporting worldwide warfighter requirements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Senior Airman Armando Pena carrying a box.

Senior Airman Armando Pena, 649th Munitions Squadron, organizes items for shipping April 8, 2020, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. In response to COVID-19, the 649th MUNS as Hill AFB has adopted new procedures and precautions to balance the safety and health of its Airmen while supporting worldwide warfighter requirements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

Senior Airman Armando Pena pulling a cart loaded with boxes.

Senior Airman Armando Pena, 649th Munitions Squadron, loading items for shipping April 8, 2020, Hill Air Force Base, Utah. In response to COVID-19, the 649th MUNS as Hill AFB has adopted new procedures and precautions to balance the safety and health of its Airmen while supporting worldwide warfighter requirements. (U.S. Air Force photo by Todd Cromar)

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- In response to COVID-19, the 649th Munitions Squadron at Hill Air Force Base has adopted new procedures and precautions to balance the safety and health of its Airmen while supporting worldwide warfighter requirements.

As part of the Air Force Sustainment Center, the 649th MUNS supports AMMO resupply requirements for the Air Force, DOD and allied partner warfighters. This involves placing bombs, missiles and other weapons onto aircraft pallets for shipment via cargo aircraft to warfighters around the globe.

The squadron also packages and ships aircraft parts and items such as explosive components that are part of ejection seats and life support equipment.

“We are taking standard preventative measures like wearing masks, social distancing and disinfecting at our shipping/receiving and inspection bays,” said Senior Master Sgt. Brett Kemp, 649th MUNS materiel flight chief “Also, we have taken a staggered approach to manning requirements, depending on changing mission needs.”

Tech. Sgt. Toby McGuire, 649th MUNS shipping/receiving assistant section chief, said Airmen in the squadron are primarily operating out of two large bays in their main facility.

“COVID-19 has obviously changed our work process, but the job still has to happen,” he said.

The shipping bay is where all outgoing assets get inspected and then shipped out to the organizations worldwide. The receiving bay is where all items coming into the squadron’s depot are inspected before being accepted and added to the inventory stockpile.

“We are on the hook to be always ready, anytime an asset re-supply is needed in an area of response. That’s what we do,” Kemp said. “Of equal importance, is our regular warfighter support involving egress items and life support explosive component parts.”

“He said the 649th MUNS is always inspecting incoming, outgoing, and static assets, along with moving various items, prepping materials, and coordinating with other agencies, throughout each step of the process, along the way.”

“It’s not what gets all the AMMO glory, but it’s what saves lives,” Kemp said.