CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
To combat the effects of frigid winters and blistering summers on more than 6.6 million rounds of ammunition kept at the Field Ammunition Supply Point, a massive effort is underway to store the ammo in a permanent, more durable location.
Marines with 1st Maintenance Battalion (-) (Reinforced), 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward) are working alongside aviation ordnance technicians with Marine Aircraft Logistics Squadron 16 and soldiers with the 351st Ordnance Detachment to move the FASP to the new Munitions Storage Area.
“The MSA provides the Marine Corps and Army a larger storage capability while minimizing the effects of environmental damage to the ammunition and explosives,” said Staff Sgt. Shailler Zillmer, MSA operations chief, 1st Maint. Bn. (-) (Rein). “We are basically afforded the opportunity to store ammunition in the same manner as we do stateside.”
Located at Camp Leatherneck, the detachment provides ammunition for every service member in Regional Command (Southwest). While the Marines are relocating millions of rounds, they also continue to support units with ammunition requests.
“My role in this FASP movement is to keep operations running by taking turn-ins and issuing out ammo to units in Afghanistan,” said Lance Cpl. Alan Nieves, ammunition technician, Supply Co., 1st Main. Bn. (-) (Rein). “I also help with doing storage work orders to move ammo to the MSA when I have time, but mainly I keep operations flowing for the Marine outside of the wire.”
During the move, each line of ammunition must be counted multiple times to ensure accuracy. Two Marines count each piece before it leaves the FASP and two other Marines count the ammo when it arrives at the MSA.
“All of our ammo has to be accounted for, so before we move it, we have to do a storage work order saying how much is being delivered,” said Cpl. Adam Derfelt, storage section head, Supply Co., 1st Main. Bn. (-) (Rein). “When we [receive] it here, we count it again and compare it to the work order to make sure what we receive matches with how much was sent.”
The mass movement was originally scheduled to take a few weeks, but the team’s hard work and excellent working chemistry has sped up the process.
“We’ve done a lot better than expected,” said Derfelt. “We’ve been able to safely and effectively move the ammunition a lot faster than anticipated.”
Zillmer attributes the group’s success to their history of working together.
“The Marines are a tight group and have been working together since the beginning of the work-up cycle,” said Zillmer. “They continually demonstrate a strong desire to move the maximum amount of ammo each day and are eager to find out how much they actually accomplish each day.”