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Spangdahlem Airmen, a force behind ground support

by Senior Airman Richard Gonzales
Detachment 9, Air Force News Agency

2/26/2007 - SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany (AFNEWS) -- In the hangars along the flightline here, Airmen load up the 81st Fighter Squadron's A-10 Thunderbolt IIs with munitions.

Having recently returned from training in Portugal, the 81st FS is back in Germany and the training hasn't stopped. While the pilots of the 81st FS are honing their skills behind the sticks of their A-10s, the weapons loaders are making sure there is ammunition to fire when those pilots push the "red button."

On his past deployment to Afghanistan, Senior Airman James Register II, an aircraft armament apprentice, and his fellow weapons loaders helped the A-10s drop more munitions than any other AEF rotation -- a statistic that makes a big statement with Soldiers on the ground, Airman Register said .

"I know that's making a difference for forces because they know we're ground support, so we can help them out a lot down there," he said.

But, the job doesn't stop once these Airmen return from a deployment. Since they have returned from Afghanistan, they have loaded more than 63,000 rounds of ammunition for the 30 millimeter Gatling gun and nearly 3,000 pieces of ordnance.

From dragging bins of munitions into the cold hangars to running their pre-flight inspections, the Airmen are seeing first-hand the difference they are making for the war on terrorism.

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