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    Ammo abatement Soldiers perform critical tasks

    Ammo abatement Soldiers perform critical tasks

    Photo By Mary Barkley | Staff Sgt. Steven B. Holman, ammunition abatement noncommissioned officer-in-charge...... read more read more



    Story by Mary Barkley 

    401st Army Field Support Brigade

    Every piece of rolling stock leaving the Army Field Support Battalion, Afghanistan’s logistics task forces at Bagram and Kandahar, for onward movement or disposition to Defense Logistics Agency is thoroughly inspected by trained ammo abatement Soldiers numerous times to ensure there is no loose ammunition, brass or links left inside the equipment.

    Soldiers from the 802nd Ordnance Company Detachment 1, an Army Reserve unit from Gainesville, Georgia, recently completed a nine-month deployment that saw them assist with recovering more than $523,000 worth of serviceable ammunition, inventorying 19 short tons of ammunition, assisting six units with preparing Class V ammunition for turn-in and logging 120 hours of ammunition-specific training.

    The unit hit the ground in November 2014 at ‘the tail end of retrograde’ said Staff Sgt. Steven B. Holman, ammunition abatement noncommissioned officer-in-charge for Combined Joint Operations Area Afghanistan.

    Holman was referring to the massive push to move equipment from Afghanistan in accordance with U.S. Army directives. His team did ammunition abatement inspections of the equipment still being retrograded and also participated in mobile missions to forward operating bases to assist in their retrograde missions. He said the process at a forward base was a little slower because they did not have the same assets as at Bagram, but he added, the quality and standards remained the same.

    Ammo abatement is not a one-step process according to Holman. The Soldiers inspect a piece of equipment numerous times during the retrograde process because work done during retrograde and moving the equipment can shake something loose and the team is dedicated to finding everything humanly possible.

    If equipment continues through the retrograde process without being ammo abated, it can become frustrated by having to be removed from the retrograde queue or it can cause problems at ports of entry if not properly ammo abated.

    In addition to ammo abatement for retrograde, the team also inspects equipment destined for coalition forces, equipment destined for foreign military sales cases, excess defense articles and disposition by the Defense Logistics Agency.

    Most of the Soldiers are at Bagram Air Field, but a small detachment is at the battalion’s Logistics Task Force located at Kandahar Airfield. In addition to their ammo abatement duties these Soldiers are handling jobs more typical for their military occupation specialty by assisting in an ammunition supply point located at Kandahar. They are also assisting wherever the LTF needs extra hands – from driving equipment to assisting with issuing equipment to Romanian forces.

    “We assisted with issuing equipment valued at $247 million for use by coalition forces,” said Sgt. Brian C. Mims, noncommissioned officer-in-charge for the Kandahar detachment. “Soldiers make the mission happen – it’s their doing.”

    Mims said he thought the team would be running ammunition supply points and closing forward operating bases, but the mission turned out to be ammo abatement.

    “We’re learning outside our MOS,” he said.

    Mims credited Cpl. Robert A. Smith for running the daily ammo abatement work and spearheading working at the ASP.

    Most recently the Soldiers began performing ammo abatement on damaged vehicles that had been used by Afghan national security and defense forces. These vehicles demand very close attention to detail and have the Soldiers literally pulling the damaged vehicles to pieces to ensure they are free from ammo, brass and links.

    Noting the Soldiers have found live rounds in some of the damaged vehicles, Holman said his team has to move more slowly and deliberately.

    “We’ve found anything that can fall out of somebody’s pocket,” he added.

    Holman said the teams at both locations have had to battle the elements ranging from snow and ice to triple digit temperatures working both day and night and mostly outside.

    “The elements work against us,” he observed.

    Holman noted that his team of 17 replaced 100 Soldiers and they have worked on everything with wheels ranging from non-tactical vehicles and “Gators” to mine rollers, generators, light sets and multi-million dollar vehicles.

    Some examples of the team’s can do attitude are Spc. Ramir Baysa’s record setting 750 ammo abatement inspections; Sgt. Nathan Chance being selected to lead a team to set up a postal operations center at a forward location; and Baysa, Chance, Sgt. Eliaser Gonzales, Spc. Joseph Burch III, Spc. Michael Gostischa, Jr., Spc. Chad Green, Spc. David Schmauzer and Spc. Robert Williams all volunteering to cross-train on Harris radios and other government furnished equipment to support the battalion and the LTF during a quarterly communications exercise; and Holman and Davis acting as first responders to assist injured personnel following an indirect fire attack.

    When they redeploy in August, 802nd Ordnance Co. Detachment 1, will leave behind new tactics, techniques and procedures for ammo abatement of damaged vehicles and a legacy of hard work that allowed battalion and brigade missions to be conducted without work stoppages, frustrated equipment or penalties resulting from ammunition, brass and links being found in vehicles destined for return to the U.S., sale or loan to other nations or disposition by DLA.



    Date Taken: 08.22.2015
    Date Posted: 09.08.2015 09:07
    Story ID: 175408
    Location: BAGRAM AIR FIELD, AF 

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