NEWS | Oct. 20, 2008

New munitions buildings safer for Randolph community

By Thomas Warner Staff writer

A new munitions facility has opened recently that allows more explosives to be stored on Randolph Air Force Base.

It also decreases the base's dependence on other storage facilities at Lackland Air Force Base.

Randolph AFB has a new operating site for explosives. The structure is now the center of all operations carried out by the 12th Logistics Readiness Division's Munitions Flight.

Randolph's newest building will be a focal point for the upcoming Operational Readiness Inspection since the facility will be used to stage explosives, configure ammunition for field exercises and prepare materials required to configure ammunition for worldwide deployment.

"The building is a maintenance and inspection structure, or 'M & I', and is the heartbeat of all explosive operations within the munitions storage area," said Patrick Fox, munitions chief.

Explosives serve a variety of purposes that range from daily training, mobility, aircraft operability and as protection from potential outside security threats. They are shipped to Randolph from munitions depots or other bases and must be inspected, configured for shipment and safely stored upon arrival.

For more than 15 years, munitions personnel have been strapped by cross-town trips to and from Lackland that routinely take around an hour-and-a-half to complete. Time, fuel and manpower were valuable resources wasted in the process.

The new building has reshaped capabilities here, allowing the five-person munitions staff to now work in a facility that is structurally compatible for explosives. The previous building used to inspect explosives was little more than a shed, with no climate control mechanisms or line for running water.

The new M & I facility significantly improves the quality of life for Randolph's munitions personnel and improves the efficiency of explosives operations conducted for this base's munitions stockpile.

"The wing understood we needed this facility, and it impacts the mission as a whole. It is a very important structure for us, and a lot of people were responsible for making this happen."

Mr. Fox pointed specifically to Jim Cipollone, 12th Civil Engineer Squadron Quality Assurance evaluator, as a lightning rod in the process.

"Our responsibilities with this involved making sure the project met user requirements and was built according to exact specifications," Mr. Cipollone said, citing aspects like steel beam and concrete and thickness as they relate to safety.

Inclement weather, communication of design requirements to contractors and other intangibles caused delays in the project's completion, but the final product has surpassed all expectations.

"The completion of the new building gives us a new way to do business and we are already feeling the positive aspects of how it is now, compared to the way we previously had to do it," Mr. Fox said.