On Nov. 30, 2022, the 8th Maintenance Squadron (MXS) Munitions Stockpile Management shop conducted a Munitions Retrograde Operation.

“Enhancing the pilots’ capability against an adversary with advanced weaponry is probably the most important aspect of what we’re doing,” said Master Sgt. Warren Calp, 8th MXS NCO in charge of munitions stockpile management. “That is why this retrograde operation is probably the apex of what we’re doing at Kunsan to make sure that we’re postured and ready to defeat any adversary in this region.”

The goal of the operation is to collect all munitions that are outdated – or are selected to be redistributed – and ship them to the United States.

“This is all ordered by the Global Ammunition Control Point,” said Staff Sgt. Cameron Robson, 8th MXS stockpile management crew chief. “We do this two to three times a year. It usually depends on how much the United States will take.”

During this operation, the 8th MXS primarily collected MXU-650 tail kits, but they also collected Computer Control Groups (also known as MAU), rockets and small arms ammunition. A tail kit is a component that is attached to the end of a guided bomb unit (GBU). In this case, the MXU-650 is used for GBU-12s. An MAU is a component that is attached to the front end of a GBU. It seeks the target that the laser of the GBU is pointing to and guides the munition. The MAUs collected for this operation are MAU-169s.

“We take one warehouse forklift and one all-terrain forklift to pick up the palletized tail kits,” Robson said. “We move the palletized tail kits to our intermodal shipping containers (ISO), double stack them, and then slide them into the ISO.”

The 8th MXS also conducts agricultural inspections on ISOs and the palletized tail kits. They make sure that both are swept clean of any debris. If any debris is found, they cannot be shipped. This is done to prevent foreign organisms like plants, bugs, bacteria, etc., from invading another country.

“I would say that is one of our main challenges, especially when you consider the weather,” said Senior Airman Jeffrey Dove, 8th MXS stockpile management crew chief. “If it rains, it can bring different insects, dirt and things on our assets and it can hinder our operation.”