News: Providers manage munitions in Iraq, Afghanistan
Story by Spc. Michael Camacho
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq — Soldiers with the 63rd Ordnance Company out of Fort Lewis, Wash., at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, run operations to support the logistical supply for all types of munitions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The 63rd Ord. Company, 80th Ordnance Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) operates the only corps storage area in Iraq, the largest ammo holding point in country, said 1st Lt. Shawn Green, a platoon leader with the 63rd Ord. Company.
The CSA provides ammunition to U.S. armed services in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, said Green, a Graham, Wash., native. The Soldiers process the ammunition, move it from one point to another and store it.
"They specialize in the logistics of ammunition," he said.
Sgt. Nicole Howard, an ammunition stock control accounting sergeant with the 63rd Ord. Company, said munitions are sent from Kuwait to JBB, where they are received and processed at the CSA.
"We support almost any unit in Iraq," said Howard, a Durham, N.C., native. "We support units at JBB and other [forward operating bases]. They will take that ammo we send and push it out to their own units."
Official requests for munitions are submitted to the 13th ESC. The orders are verified, the information is sent to the CSA to be processed and the order is prepared for shipment. The average turnaround time to prepare a shipment is 12 to 24 hours, said Howard, roughly the same amount of time it takes the CSA to in-process ammunition into the holding areas.
Green said the decreased number of service members in Iraq has led to an ammunition surplus. For proper operational security, this ammunition is sent to the theater storage area in Kuwait.
"We're collecting up all the ammo that is not needed here to be used in other places as part of the War on Terror," he said.
As FOB's throughout Iraq are downsized or closed, excess ammo is transported from those bases back to the CSA at JBB, said Howard. With fewer troops in Iraq, excess ammo is sent to the Theater Storage Area in Kuwait, she said.
Green said Soldiers at the CSA are trained to handle and store munitions, as well as indentify hazards and mitigate risk when processing and receiving ammo.
If packaged munitions show signs of damage, they are inspected by a group of civilian contractors who work alongside the Soldiers with the 63rd Ord. Company, said Green. Any damaged munitions are disposed of through controlled detonations, he said.
Since the 63rd Ord. Company took over CSA operations in October, the unit has processed roughly 4,300 tons of ammunition, totaling more than $98 million, said Green.
The CSA is slated to be downsized later in the year as the number of U.S. troops in Iraq drops to 50,000, he said.