Estonian, U.S. Air Force munitions personnel share best practices, techniques

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Julia Lebens
  • 673d ABW/PA

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Members of the Estonian Defense Forces visited the 3rd Munitions Squadron and members of the 673rd Air Base Wing Civil Engineering Squadron to complete site surveys and discuss munitions storage designs in similar home climates at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, March 10 through 15, 2024.

Global partners and allies since the U.S. officially recognized the Republic of Estonia’s independence in 1922, both NATO members work to promote transatlantic security. Multinational meetings of military members focused on a shared interest to build beneficial rapport and knowledge for both sides.

The Estonian Centre for Defense Investments is in charge of central procurements and availability of materials and services to ensure a functional national defense infrastructure. In order to continue implementing this safe and functional defense infrastructure, several members of the ECDI collaborated on JBER to get input on what U.S. Air Force munitions Airmen do well, as well as what they think could be improved.

With an emphasis on site surveys, discussions centered around topics such as transportation, storage, similar northern environmental considerations, and safety, the counterparts compared lessons learned to strengthen respective programs and upcoming structural construction designs.

“They’re looking to upgrade their munitions infrastructure and seeking lessons learned from our facilities that operate in a similar climate,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Alexander Muhlenbeck, the 3rd MUNS director of operations. “We provided an inside look into our arctic munitions operations and shared our plans for the future so that they can take it back and design modern facilities that can withstand cold temperatures, which ultimately enhances our cooperation and defense posture for NATO and its partners.”

Both Estonia and Alaska can experience harsh winters, which can weaken structures, creating structural concerns. When storing bombs, missiles, and other munitions, strong infrastructure is vital to safety. Being able to compare successes and learned lessons with allies and partners allows all involved in the conversation to become even better and more efficient fighting forces.

“We discussed forces framework, conditions, requirements, and needs, and compared them with safety regulations and engineering possibilities,” said Estonian Defense Forces Maj. Peeter Pekri, a logistics officer assigned to the Estonian Defense Headquarters. “We found some good ideas on how to build better suitable munitions storages and maintenance buildings.”

Pekri also said while U.S. and Estonian forces handle munitions storages more or less in the same way, it’s important to share experiences and understand how both countries handle their supplies. This helps both countries meet NATO requirements and be prepared for whatever multinational situations they may face in the future.

“Building these partnerships with Estonia and other allies is critical to NATO’s deterrence and readiness,” said Muhlenbeck. “We are stronger when we work together—one team, one fight.”