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Cpl. Joseph Nordone, 21, electro-optical ordnance repairman, Support Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 3, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), inspects a M1A1 Collimator aboard Camp Dwyer, Afghanistan, Jan. 10. The Collimator is a device used to assist artillery units in maintaining accurate fires when firing missions.

Photo by Cpl. Daniel H. Woodall

Weapon techs give coalition forces tactical advantages in southern Afghanistan

22 Jan 2011 | Cpl. Daniel H. Woodall

Since October, approximately 15 ordnance Marines with Support Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 3, 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward) have repaired and returned more than 500 weapon systems to coalition units operating in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

In Afghanistan, coalition personnel face an unforgiving terrain that can damage their equipment. The primary function of CLB-3’s ordnance Marines is to support infantry and artillery units operating in Helmand province by repairing weapon systems that cannot be fixed at the organizational level and returning them in a timely manner.

Weapons systems deemed “irreparable” at the unit level are sent to Camp Dwyer for higher level repairs from the ordnance Marines from CLB-3, said Staff Sgt. James T. Allbright, 32, staff noncommissioned officer in charge, Armory, Support Company, CLB-3, 1st MLG (FWD). These weapons include the M32 A1 grenade launcher, M2 .50-caliber machine gun, M16 A4 and M4 rifles, as well as various optical systems.

“We have to keep the guns up and running for the Marines in the fight,” said Allbright, a native of Whitesboro, N.Y. “In order for the Marines to accomplish their mission, they have to have an operable weapon in their hands – that’s why we’re here.”

At times, CLB-3’s Support Company will send weapon technicians to units in forward areas as a “contact team” in order to expedite the process of repairing tactical equipment, said Sgt. Laura Townley, 26, small-arms repair technician, Support Company, CLB-3, 1st MLG (FWD).

“It’s rewarding to be able to work with other units operating in the area,” said Townley, a native of Clay, W.Va. “It gives a more ‘in depth’ look into parts of [the operating forces] that you may not usually see.”

Whether the repairs are made onsite with the unit or aboard Camp Dwyer, one thing is certain: the job of the ordnance Marines remains imperative to keep their brothers on the front line equipped and ready.

“The efforts of our welders, machinists and [weapons technicians] keep the weapons and optics serviceable and properly maintained – this is extremely important here,” said Townley.


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