News: Saved rounds: Ammo techs stay on target with ballistics training
Story by Cpl. Kenneth Jasik
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – The 1st Marine Logistics Group uses approximately $8 million dollars worth of ammunition for training per week. Who is responsible for providing all of the ammo to the Marines and sailors? The answer is ammunition technicians.
Ammunition technicians and appointed ammunition handlers representing every unit within 1st MLG attended required training here, July 28. Ammunition handlers are Marines appointed to handle and gather ammunition for units that don’t have actual ammunition technicians.
During the course, the Marines focused on a program called HERO, which stands for Hazards of Electromagnetic Radiation to Ordnance. It is designed to prevent the accidental ignition of electrically-initiated devices in ordnance due to radio frequencies and electromagnetic fields from computers, cellular phones and cameras.
“The ammo techs of 1st MLG are getting all the training required for all the ammunition they deal with,” said Staff Sgt. Daniel Garcia, ammunition chief, G-4, 1st MLG. “They learn about everything that has to deal with ammo.”
Some of the ammunition the Marines handle on a regular basis includes 5.56 X 45 mm rounds, 40 mm grenades, chlorobenzalmalononitrile gas capsules commonly known as CS gas, and blast caps. But they also deal with more dangerous munitions such as tank and mortar rounds, hand grenades and sometimes even missiles.
Because they have to deal with potentially dangerous ammunition, the Marines also focused on ammunition safety, the different types of highly explosive ammunitions, how to store and transport ammunition and how to “forecast” ammunition. According to Garcia, forecasting is used to let the personnel at the Ammunition Supply Point know how much ammo is needed by each unit.
“Forecasting is hard to do because each unit doesn’t know exactly when their training will happen,” said Garcia, from Fort Worth, Texas.
The classes proved beneficial for the ammunition technicians. From stowing the ammunition, down to the paperwork they have to fill out, the training will help better prepare them for missions ahead.
“I’ve learned a few things that are important to me as one of the unit’s ammo techs,” said Cpl. Ray Peck, ammunition technician, Combat Logistics Regiment 15, 1st MLG. “Some things change a lot in this job field so taking the required training every month is important,” said Peck, from Fort Wayne, Ind.
With all of the ammunition Marines deploy on a weekly basis, whether it’s for a shooting range or the gas chamber, it’s up to the ammo techs of 1st MLG to ensure their magazines are never empty.