The US 86th Munitions Squadron at Ramstein Air Base, Germany received some 100 containers with a variety of munitions during the course of October, which is the largest US ammo shipment to Europe since the operation in Yugoslavia in 1999.
Master Sgt. Arthur Myrick, 86th MUNS munitions flight chief, said that the shipment will be used to "support NATO's European Deterrence Initiative (EDI) and augment the Air Force's War Reserve Materiel in Europe."
According to Ramstein officials, the shipment is also expected to increase the responsiveness and readiness of US forces at the Ramstein base by pre-positioning ammunition, fuel and equipment to enable a "rapid response against threats made by aggressive actors."
"We're a major airlift hub for U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa, so our main job is to get munitions where they need to be on time. These are real-world munitions to fulfill real-world objectives. That's the reason we are downloading these things: to make sure we have the capability to move the fight forward if need be," Myrick said.
The last time such a major shipment was delivered to Ramstein was prior to Operation Allied Force in 1999, during which the US Air Force conducted some 900 air raids against then Yugoslavia. The 78 day long aerial campaign, which was not authorized by the UN Security Council, claimed the lives of around 500 civilians, according to Human Rights Watch, and resulted in widespread destruction of the country's infrastructure.
Ramstein Air Base in Germany is the largest foreign US military base and is a major center for Washington's overseas military operations. The base was home to American nuclear weapons, but they were reportedly pulled out in 2005. The air base regularly faces criticism from the German public, which demands that it be closed. One of the most recent protests against the US base took place on July 2, 2018, soon after US President Donald Trump said that he was considering a possible withdrawal of American forces from the country.