Ammo abatement -- what is it and why is it so important?
April 25, 2014
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan--"Ammo abatement is a priority," said Maj. Charles V. Martin, Logistics Task Force Bagram officer-in-charge.
Ammo abatement is a process whereby personnel inspect vehicles for loose brass, ammunition and links. Each vehicle turned in to any Redistribution Property Assistance Team in Afghanistan is subjected to numerous ammo abatement inspections during the stages in the RPAT process.
Martin said the first inspection is done by the unit turning in the vehicle. They must have a signed memo signed to verify the unit conducted the inspection and removed any brass and ammunition found during their inspection before it will be accepted at the RPAT yard.
The next inspection takes place as soon as the unit brings the vehicle to the RPAT yard. In the case of the Bagram RPAT, the vehicle is inspected before it enters the building for further processing. Soldiers assigned to the 23rd Military Police Company, 91st Military Police Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade, converge on the vehicles as soon as the drivers exit. The ammo abatement team uses special tools and lights to enable them to see into and retrieve ammo and brass from small hiding places in vehicles.
Each vehicle has its own 'hot spots' where brass and ammo have frequently been found. These hot spots are thoroughly checked, but the same careful attention is paid to any places where ammo or brass could be hidden.
Martin explained that vehicles are inspected after every stage of the RPAT process because what happens at each step could loosen ammo or brass. When government furnished equipment is removed, new hiding places open up. Likewise, after a through pressure washing, things could be dislodged. Martin said sometimes just driving over uneven terrain can jar ammo and brass loose.
Ammo abatement standard procedures call for the team to remove ammunition smaller than 50 caliber. When they find anything larger, they call Explosive Ordnance Disposal, cordon off the vehicle and establish a 300 meter stand-off zone until EOD can remediate the problem.
Sgt. Cory A. Burnley, LTF-Bagram ammo abatement noncommissioned-officer-in-charge, briefed Under Secretary of the Army, Honorable Brad Carson and Vice Chief of Staff, Army, Gen. John F. Campbell on Apr. 17 on 23rd Military Police Co. statistics for the fiscal year. He said they have completed 700 initial inspections, 1069 final inspections, discovered 209 live rounds and four grenades. They have also cleared 806 vehicles to be turned in to Defense Logistics Agency-Disposition Services.