'Line-D': Delivery service of munitions world

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Siuta B. Ika
  • 99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
With both of his hands on the steering wheel, Senior Airman Kevin Villaran, 57th Maintenance Squadron munitions line delivery crew chief, stares at the open road in front of him.

Although there are no other vehicles in sight, Villaran maintains his current speed of 10 miles per hour to ensure his cargo - a 2,000 pound joint direct attack munition bomb - remains secure during its delivery to the flight line.

For Villaran and other 'Line-D' Airmen, the above scenario is an everyday occurrence, said Master Sgt. Donald King, 57th MXS munitions line delivery NCO in charge.

"We are kind of like the UPS [Inc.] of the munitions world," King said. "We deliver all of the munitions assets around-the-clock for every flying unit, from the munitions storage area down to the aircraft itself."

With Nellis accounting for approximately 40 percent of Air Combat Command's total munitions expenditures, King said line delivery crew chiefs are always on their toes.

"We deliver munitions to every type of airframe the Air Force has, so we're very unique in that aspect, because a lot of bases are either only a bomber base, fighter base or have a rescue unit, but we have or see everything here," he said. "That means we're delivering every type of bomb, every type of munitions item there is. If it doesn't happen here at Nellis, it doesn't happen. When we're doing full-up exercises, like when Red Flag is in town, we're probably handling somewhere in the ballpark of 50,000 pounds of iron going out to the flight line on a daily basis."

To ensure their trucks and trailers are able to safely make multiple trips transporting munitions from the munitions storage area to the flight line - a distance of approximately eight miles - each 'Line-D' driver is held responsible for the daily accounting and maintenance of their equipment.

"When we come in, we check out a truck, light cables, [technical orders], and make sure those are all good to go. All of our trailers, every piece of equipment has a form for documentation," Villaran said. "We have TOs for everything to go over - like the truck's tires, nuts and bolts - to make sure those [items] are all good. We have tie-down and safety procedures for every type of munition."

After armed jets return from missions, 'Line-D' Airmen also perform reconciliations, or munitions inventories, to account for expended weapons and determine transport requirements for unused munitions off the flight line.

While it may be easy for any Airman to become complacent, Villaran said that's a luxury 'Line-D' Airmen can't afford.

"You really have to stay on yourself to make sure you're doing the right thing, because it's easy to whip through things without thinking. Missing pins or fuses on bombs - you have to make sure that stuff is good before you take it," Villaran said. "A lot of things can go wrong, and you got to keep in mind you're towing munitions so if you mess up, you might kill yourself or other people. It's a lot of responsibility."

Although 'Line-D' Airmen may not be in the limelight, King said without their unrelenting work to get needed munitions from the storage area to the flight line, Nellis' aircraft fleet would just be an unarmed airline.

"We're kind of those guys behind the scenes, because we could be on the road for eight to nine hours at a time," King said. "The weapons guys kind of get the glory, because they're who you see on TV loading the weapons up on the aircraft to go to war, but without us, those weapons never make it out there. Don't get me wrong, we're just another link in the chain, but it's a very important link without a doubt."