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18th LRS IPE equips Kadena

Airmen record the serial number of an issued weapon

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Eric Darling, left, 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron individual protective equipment supervisor, and Airman 1st Class Keelan Mathews, right, 18th LRS IPE apprentice, record the serial number of an issued weapon at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Aug. 30, 2021. IPE issues weaponry to personnel if they are deploying or if the base comes under attack. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Demond Mcghee)

Airman packs up canteens

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class David Torres Torres, 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron individual protective equipment journeyman, arranges new canteens at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Aug. 30, 2021. IPE is responsible for making sure in-processing personnel receive mobility gear such as chemical suits and gas masks. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Demond Mcghee)

Airman opens weapon locker area

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Eric Darling, 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron individual protective equipment supervisor, moves weapon locker columns at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Aug. 30, 2021. The weapon's area is closely monitored to ensure no one is able to take any assets. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Demond Mcghee)

Airman stores canteens

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class David Torres Torres, 18th Logistics Readiness Squadron individual protective equipment journeyman, prepares canteens for storage at Kadena Air Base, Japan, Aug. 30, 2021. IPE has approximately 100,000 assets stored for Team Kadena to ensure they are equipped for anything. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Demond Mcghee)

Ranging from canteens or chemical gear to protect the life of an individual and their team, IPE houses approximately 100,000 assets assigned to Team Kadena.

“The main purpose of IPE is to issue out mobility gear,” said Airman 1st Class David Torres Torres, 18th LRS IPE journeyman. “What we do here is very important. Our location on Okinawa means our active-duty members need to be prepared for anything.”

IPE Airmen track and manage shipments of mobility gear, and are responsible for ensuring inbound gear is present and expired gear is collected for proper disposal. Stored items such as body armor, helmets and gas masks are then issued to in-processing members as a means to protect themselves in case of an emergency.

Mobility gear doesn’t only rely on defense, explained Staff Sgt. Eric Darling, 18th LRS IPE supervisor, but also delving into the purpose and necessity of the element’s weapon vault.

“We’re here to make sure Kadena has enough weapons to provide to every service member,” Darling said. “If we get tasked to deploy, or get attacked, we have enough weapons to protect ourselves and what’s here on Kadena.”

Danger could strike at any moment, but as long as Team Kadena is equipped by IPE then personnel will be ready for anything.

“We support the entire base.” Torres Torres said, “Anyone who in-processes has to go through us so I feel what we do here is important to making sure everyone is well-prepared for any possibilities.”