News: Marines build ordnance for Southern Frontier
ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE BASE, Australia - As the sun rose July 19, 2012, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 11 and MALS-12 aviation ordnance technician Marines were hard at work constructing ordnance to be used by Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232.
“We’re building Mark 82 bombs and delivering them to 232 once we’re finished,” said Staff Sgt. Stuart J. Sylvester, a MALS-12 Quality Safety Assurance Safety Observer (QUASO) and aviation ordnance technician. “It’s important we are quick and efficient in getting the squadron bombs, because without us they can’t get the proper training they need.”
The Marines built MK-82/BLU-111 500-pound bombs in support of Southern Frontier 2012.
Southern Frontier is an annual, unilateral training exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Air Force allowing MAG-12 F/A-18 squadrons the opportunity to focus on offensive-air support training in order to improve squadron readiness.
An ordnance crew includes three elements: A team member, team leader and a QUASO. Team members prepare, serialize and build ordnance. Every part of the bomb is controlled and each piece utilized has a serial number written on it.
Team leaders help with organization and procedures.
“As the team leader, you’re organizing the ordnance building evolutions and making sure everyone stays employed,” said Staff Sgt. Michele L. Starcher, a MALS-11 team leader and ordnance technician. “I give everyone instructions on what to do and make sure the bomb is being built correctly.”
QUASOs make sure the process is executed safely.
“That’s what I do. It’s my job to watch everyone and make sure they’re using proper techniques to build a bomb,” said Cpl. Joseph P. Mar, a MALS-11 QUASO and ordnance technician. “After the bomb is built, I’m the one that goes through and does final inspections before it’s sent off to the squadron.”
Exercises like SF12 provide ordnance opportunities many in this job field do not get on a regular basis.
“There are so many parts to ordnance, but out of the Marines here, only a few have ever built a bomb,” said Starcher. “We all have different jobs in the rear, so the cool thing about this is getting a chance to know the meat and potatoes of what our job is really about and actually building bombs.”
As the morning wore on, the pressure came on to finish the job and send ordnance to the squadron.
“My favorite part of the job is building because it’s different,” Mar said. “It’s an adrenaline rush, especially when you have a lot of stuff to build and little time, it can get pretty hectic, but at the same time it’s exciting.”
With a high-volume environment, Marines work to become an efficient, well-oiled machine so they can finish the job quickly and correctly.
“We all work in different shops within ordnance so exercises just bring us all together,” said Starcher. “It’s nice, you get to know different people from different platforms and watch everyone come together to finish the build.”
After most of the Marines shed their blouses in the broiling Australian environs, after the sun came up and the heat rose, with sweat dripping down their faces, the Marines finished and sent off the ordnance.
Date Posted:08.09.2012 03:25
Location:ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE BASE, NT, AU
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