This article first appeared in the Mig Alley Flyer Aug. 10, 1990. Suwon is now a very large and fast growing area. This was not the case when was written. It’s actually the capital city of the province in which it’s located. Suwon is a Korean Air Force facility. However, some of it is controlled and operated by the U.S. Army out of nearby Camp Humphreys. There is also a connection to Osan Air Force base due to the flying missions.
IYAAYAS is an acronym for “If you ain’t Ammo, you ain’t shit”. I wasn’t allowed to write a full explanation in a military publication, but felt I still had to include this saying if I was going to write a story about ammo troops. Most of us knew what it meant, as well as all of the other acronyms – it’s how we speak in the military.
Thanks again for reading and don’t be afraid to click on that “follow” button J. Ray
Suwon Ammo troops carefully load an AIM-9L air-to-air missile on to a trailer.
IYAAYAS! Don’t try to understand – it’s a 19th Tactical Air Support Squadron munitions thing. For the record, though, it’s a statement for how these ammo folks feel about themselves: the best!
Assigned to Suwon AB, most people are unaware of their existence. While the majority of all U.S. Air Force facilities are concentrated in one area, these 62 hard-working troops are segregated on the other side of the flight line in order ensure that aircraft are armed and ready.
With eight different work centers spread out amongst three areas, it takes a ton of hard work to complete this mission. The obvious place to begin is the munitions control section.
“We’re the hub of all munitions operations,” MSgt. Jeff Fullerton said. “We maintain communications and provide coordination between the other work centers.”
There’s also the MAGNUM, a combined USFK-ROKAF munitions storage area. The airman assigned here are responsible for more than 12,000 tons of munitions totaling more than nine million individual items and more than 350 types of ammunition. This adds up to more than $165 million worth of hell raising.
“We also have the munitions inspection and line delivery sections,” SMSgt. Raymond Caron, munitions manager, said. “We have equipment and missile maintenance sections, too.”
The purpose of this intricate system of work centers and personnel is to support the flying mission at Suwon Air Base and maintain its munitions stockpile.
“We’re responsible for munitions for use by A-10s here and any other aircraft which may come in,” Sergeant Caron said. “In the event of war, a lot of fighting would be conducted out of Suwon. Planes can go anywhere in the world, but we can’t. We’re here for that reason – to arm the planes.”
Attributing to their motto, Suwon’s munitions branch won the 1989 weapons safety award, and the Espirit de Corps trophy, during June’s Sabre Spirit competition. It’s the folks assigned to this unit that make such high levels of recognition easy to come by.
“Suwon is a great base. This is my sixth assignment to Korea and this has been the best one so far,” Sergeant Caron said. “We don’t have a lot of the facilities found at other bases, but the people here make up for that. We’re a close, tight-knit group.”
It’s exactly this level of camaraderie which enables them to complete the mission so effectively.
“This is a challenging job at times,” the 23-year blue suiter said. “It’s hard to keep up with the constant changes in mission requirements. It doesn’t matter what type of aircraft come in, we have to support them. Each day presents a new challenge.”
With this attitude, readiness and team work, it’s no wonder Suwon’s munitions unit is ranked among the very best.