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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

896th Munitions Squadron

Sandia Base initiated construction of Operational Storage Site (OSS) alert facilities in 1950. Sandia transferred operation of the alert sites to Air Materiel Command after a shakedown period during which Sandia personnel worked at the sites with the Air Force and AEC. Air Materiel Command designated the sites depots, with associated Air Force personnel referenced as Aviation Depot Groups, and subsequently, Aviation Depot Squadrons.

Fairfield Air Force Station was established on a site adjacent to what is now known as Travis AFB in about 1940. It was the first Air Force installation in the Up-County area. Fairfield Air Force Station was dissolved effective 01 July 1962. The old supply station, established before Travis AFB and maintaining its identity while a sprawling Air Force base grew around it, became a part of Travis. The 3083rd Aviation Depot Group, which had been under the Air Force Logistics Command, was inactivated with the loss of 11 civilian employees and the re-assignment of 97 military personnel. The 3096th Aviation Depot Squadron remained at Travis AFB, with 136 Air Force personnel and three civilians, but became a part of the Military Air Transport Service [MATS].

The 896th Munitions Squadron was initially designated the 3096th Aviation Depot Squadron, and activated on 01 July 1971 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. The unit was redesignated the 896th Aviation Depot Squadron on 01 October 1992, and redesignated again as the 896th Munitions Squadron on 01 April 1994.

The 896th Munitions Squadron is a selectively manned, geographically separated unit supporting OSD, Joint Staff, the Services, and Nuclear CINC's. it operated the AF's only above ground depot-level weapons maintenance and storage facility. The unit stores, maintains, modifies and ships weapons and components to combat or storage organizations within the AF, sister services, and DOE. It provides support to presidential drawdown and dismantlement programs.

The 896th Munitions Squadron (MUNS) has one of the largest Air Force weapons stockpiles in the free world. Area 2 is a highly guarded part of Nellis AFB at the foot of Sunrise Mountain. The unit stores, maintains, modifies, and ships Priority "A" weapons and associated components for the Department of Defense.

The 896 MUNS Provides:

  • Support to the Department of Energy (DOE) in the design, implementation, alteration, and transportation of sophisticated weapons.
  • Specialized training to United States Air Force (USAF) organizations worldwide.
  • DOE and USAF trained/certified crews to perform retrofits and maintenance on Priority "A" weapons around the world.
  • Worldwide maintenance teams to replace or augment field units in support of military operation.
  • Secure storage for all transient DOE vehicles in support of Safe Secure Trailer movements.
  • Maintenance, buildup, and refurbishment of Joint Test Assemblies and Bomb Dummy Units (BDU) in support of Headquarters Air Combat Command special weapons drop and flight programs.
  • Exclusive renovation of BDU-38 drop shapes and Air Force sole supplier of first rate batteries to ensure system reliability.

As of 1990 a significant number of nuclear weapons were stored at Area 2, a highly guarded part of Nellis AFB at the foot of Sunrise Mountain. The area consists of 790 acres, 75 specialized munitions storage igloos, 15 maintenance and support facilities, 26 miles of roadways, and 44 vehicles of various types. The site is one of three Air Force central nuclear storage areas in the United States, along with Kirtland AFB, Albuquerque, NM, and Barksdale AFB in Bossier City, LA.

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