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    Marines, sailors handle MCB Hawaii's ordnance supply

    Marines, sailors handle MCB Hawaii's ordnance supply

    Photo By Cpl. James Sauter | Cpl. Brandon Maier, an ammo technician with base ordnance and native of Toledo, Ohio,...... read more read more

    MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, HI, UNITED STATES

    01.25.2013

    Story by Cpl. James Sauter 

    Marine Corps Base Hawaii

    MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII - For the majority of service members and residents on Marine Corps Base Hawaii, one of the best kept secrets is where the vast array of ammunition and ordnance is stored for the Marine’s ongoing cycle of training operations, through which they maintain their status as a force in readiness.

    The secret lies underground in one of the most isolated areas of the base. Very few base employees or residents know of its existence and even fewer have the privilege to handle the manifest inside the nine subterranean tunnel magazines.

    Spread out over 30 acres, MCB Hawaii has the only tunnel magazines in active service, a one-of-a-kind in the Marine Corps. A single concrete road runs up and down the crater from each magazine entrance to another. The most noticeable aesthetic feature of the magazine is the jungle camouflage painted over the entrance and surrounding area to make air surveillance difficult or impossible.

    “As part of the supply department and base ordnance division, we provide ammunition and ordnance to the 17 different tenant commands on base,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Al Crespo, the base ordnance officer in charge and a native of New York City. “We store and maintain about 85,000 pounds of ammunition and explosives, ranging from 5.56 mm bullets, AT-4 rocket launchers, Claymore mines and even, occasionally, 500-pound bombs.”

    The exact reason the magazines were built in themanner they were has been lost to history, but Crespo said the magazines may have originated as fallout shelters during the post-World War II era of the late 1940s. At any time, base ordnance is required to maintain a prescribed stockpile to keep with the current and future demands of tenant units and training operations.

    “Even though we supply the bullets, we’re not responsible for the armories on base. Those belong to the individual units,” Crespo said. “The reason the weapons and ammo are kept separate is because there’s no telling how much ammo a unit will need at any given time.”

    In addition to meeting requests from tenant units, Marines and sailors at base ordnance have to ensure strict safety and accountability measures so the explosive material is handled properly and the customer isn’t under or over supplied.

    According to Staff Sgt. Michael Causey, the base ordnance staff noncommissioned officer in charge and a native of New York City, the office knows exactly how much ammo has been distributed and is still in storage at any given time.

    “What’s also unique about the day-to-day operations here is the level of landscape upkeep we have to do to meet both security and environmental demands,” Causey said. “For example, we need to make sure the vegetation stays away from the fence and magazine entrances for security purposes.”

    After receiving a ticket order, a team of three Marines pull up in a truck in front of the camouflage entrance to a magazine. One Marine turns off the security system and another unlocks the door, which itself weighs a ton. As the two Marines count the ammo and load them onto trolleys to be taken out to the truck, the third Marine observes their actions and provides another set of eyes on every piece of handled ammo. The Marines finish and reset the locks and security alarm, and then load the truck and return to their office with the order.

    “What I enjoy the most out of this job is learning something new every day,” said Cpl. Brandon Maier, an ammo technician and native of Toledo, Ohio. “You can never know your job 100 percent. I remember my sergeant taking me inside a magazine and teaching me about everything in there and how to handle it. The junior Marines are eager to learn and when they’re eager, we as leaders want to know more so we can teach them. Safety and accountability is what we preach at base ordnance.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 01.25.2013
    Date Posted: 01.25.2013 19:42
    Story ID: 101074
    Location: MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII, HI, US 

    Web Views: 112
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