News: Ammo specialists keep CAB armed
CAMP TAJI, Iraq " The modular structure of the 4th Infantry Division's Combat Aviation Brigade is making the camp's ammunition transfer holding point more efficient and safe.
With more trained ammo specialists assigned to the brigade, the unit has proven to be more proficient in ammunition distribution and control operations.
Prior to the brigade's transformation to modularity, these Soldiers were task organized to the brigades, as mission required.
"In wartime, you have to have your bullets," said Warrant Officer 1 Mark Jackson, the brigade's ammo technician assigned to Headquarters Support Company, 404th Aviation Support Battalion. "(Under modularity), a brigade can manage the bullets at this level. If they send us anywhere in the world, we can provide for ourselves."
Jackson deployed with the 101st Airborne Division during the Operation Iraqi Freedom kickoff and is back in Iraq with the Ivy Division.
He explained that the CAB's and the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div.'s ammunition personnel support more than just their units assigned here at Taji; they also support other Coalition Forces assigned to Camp Taji.
The transfer to modularity also replaced inexperienced Soldiers, who held other Military Occupational Specialties but worked as ammunitions specialists, with those trained specifically as ammo specialists, said Jackson. Because of this, the overall ATHP is structured with more experienced personnel. In the new design, there are also multiple military personnel who are qualified to classify the physical condition of ammunition. In the past, one civilian worker was only person qualified to support 10 of the division's FOBs.
Jackson also pointed out some of the ammo that is set for disposal dates back to the liberation of Baghdad.
"We've been re-inspecting a lot of old ammo from previous deployments," said Spc. Victor Guzman, an ammunition specialist from Brownsville, Texas, assigned to Company A, 404th Aviation Support Battalion. "If the ammo doesn't pass the inspection, then it's given to explosive ordnance disposal personnel for disposal or it's sent to the United States for repair."
The ammunition that passes inspection is put into the unit's stock in the ATHP. The ammunition is arranged in the ATHP to ensure safe storage and operations.
"We're putting up more Hesco barriers so we can divide the ammo by net explosive weight," Guzman added.
There are berms and Hesco barriers that were recently put up to
store the ammo into separated areas based on the net explosive weight of the munitions. The munitions will be cataloged and mixed with the various weaponry stored in the sections. This is done to ensure that in case an accident should occur, the munitions do not literally go up in flames.
The unit has also instituted additional safety measures for its personnel.
"We wear road guard vests at night and use flashlights," said Sgt. Maria Solis, an ammo specialist assigned to Company A, 404th Aviation Support Battalion. "We give people working here from other military occupational specialties a safety briefing every morning."
While the mission is always placed first, the safety of the ammo specialists and their munitions is paramount since the missiles are needed to protect Soldiers on the ground.