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Airmen from five bases assist Cannon AFB with weapons cleaning and extended storage, right 7-year deficiency

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Drew Cyburt
  • 27th Special Operations Wing Public Affairs

CANNON AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. — Eight Airmen from bases across the country traveled to Cannon AFB to assist the 27th Special Operations Logistics Readiness Squadron and 27th Security Forces Squadron with cleaning, function checking and placing nearly 1,000 weapons into extended storage at Cannon AFB, NM, Nov. 28, 2023, correcting a seven-year deficiency.

In the past ten years, the 27th Special Operations Wing has been one of the Air Force’s most deployed wings, requiring a vast stock of actively used weapons. Due to high deployment rates, the 27 SOLRS is charged with maintaining the mandated 90-day cleaning and inventory requirement.

“If the weapon is not cleaned, it doesn’t function properly,” said Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Lipp, 27 SOLRS Individual Protective Equipment non-commissioned officer in charge. “What if a weapon stops working downrange? It's not a great situation.”

The first hurdle was cleaning and checking the functionality of the weapons. Before any weapon can be inventoried, they need to be function checked by the Combat Arms Training & Maintenance. Due to real-world responses and mission constraints the 27 SOLRS and 27 SFS had only been able to complete a third of this task. To ensure mission readiness, a new solution was needed.

Eight CATM Airmen from Dyess AFB, TX, Goodfellow AFB, TX, Luke AFB, AZ, Whiteman AFB, MO, and Dobbins Air Reserve Base, GA, volunteered their skills and expertise to expedite the process.

“Those guys worked non-stop, they cleaned and went through about 1,000 weapons in three days.” said Lipp, regarding the CATM volunteers. “It was impressive to see.”

The previous method Cannon used to store weapons was inefficient. From his experience at other bases, Lipp understood the benefit of using extended storage boxes, which could be sealed airtight to protect against the elements in the environment.

“Something that would take three or four people a week to do, turns into something that one person could conceivably do in an hour,” said Lipp. “That cuts down the inventory time by 86%.”

With the help of the volunteers and the use of extended storage boxes, dubbed “coffins”, the 27 SOLRS came up with a solution to an issue which they hadn’t been able to resolve. They went from a seven-year deficiency to being compliant within the span of three days, maintaining weapons readiness throughout the 27 SOW.