II MEF ammo techs keeping rounds in chamber

24 Aug 2006 | Cpl. Rose A. Muth

With predeployment training for the II Marine Expeditionary Force underway, many Marines may experience the sweet smell of gun powder in the morning, but some may not know how the smell from the ammunition lingers in the air.

“Our section supports all II MEF units and all adjoining transition teams for annual and predeployment combat training all over the world,” said Maj. Roger W. Scambler, ammunition officer, Ammunition and Ordnance, II MEF. “We are responsible for over 70 million rounds for just the MEF alone.”

The process to allocate rounds to a unit may seem simple, but the paperwork process is more complex, and must go through Training and Education Command, Quantico, Va., first.

“TECOM came out with Marine Corps Bulletin 8011, which tells us how many rounds each unit is allotted for the fiscal year,” Scambler explained. “After the bulletin is published we forward it to all the units to use it as guidelines when requesting ammunition.”

With so many rounds getting processed day in and day out for a wide variety of field exercises, keeping track of the ammunition can be an overwhelming task. But to ensure the system of checks and balances, an Army base program is used to help keep track of the shells.

“We use a program called Training Ammunition Management Information System Redesigned so I can move ammunition when a request comes in, and I can easily monitor how many rounds a unit has expended,” said Cpl. Molly E. Smart, ammunition technician clerk, Ammunition and Ordnance, II MEF. “Many units go through ammo quickly and I have to make sure their allocated rounds support their training. If they run out of ammunition they have to submit a special allowance request to us, and we can only give it to them if the MEF has it on hand.”

To request for ammunition, a unit must fill out a training ammunition request form stating how many rounds are needed, when the training is taking place and where the rounds can be received. The request is then forwarded to the Ammunition Supply Point and Smart ensures the rounds are there for pick up.

“We handle approximately 300 items for the MEF. Different training exercises require different types of rounds,” Smart said. “It is a pretty large responsibility and Master Gunnery Sergeant (Isaiah L.) Rice and I work pretty proficiently to make sure everyone gets the rounds they need.”

As the section is getting ready to deploy for operations overseas, the Marines will be fulfilling the same duties in theater, using the system of checks and balances to make sure Marines have the right amount of ammunition to fight the War on Terrorism.