MILITARY OCEAN TERMINAL SUNNY POINT, N.C. -- A Soldier's relationship with munitions is often a short one: a pull of a pin, a squeeze of a trigger, an explosive result, then on to the next. For some, the relationship is more intimate.
Before a round is ever thumbed into a magazine, before a grenade is secured to a load-bearing vest, an ammunition specialist has made sure it is fit for duty.
Ammunition specialists receive, inspect, store and issue everything from bullets and grenades to rockets and missiles. Spc. John Crespo, an ammunition specialist with the 266th Ordnance Company based in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, feels like his job makes him a part of the Army's mission.
"A bad round can lead to injury," said Crespo, a native of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. An ammunition specialist can ensure Soldiers' most essential gear won't hurt them, Crespo said.
Once the munitions are given a seal of approval, it needs to be repackaged and readied for shipping. Staff Sgt. Nelson Roldan, the non-commissioned officer in charge for the 266th, believes Reserve Soldiers' have a special edge: civilian jobs.
"We've got [Soldiers] who are forklift operators on the civilian side, and it makes for a much more fluid operation," Roldan said.
Forklift operators, as well as professional carpenters, train their fellow Reserve Soldiers on their civilian skills, Roldan said, further expanding each reservist's versatile knowledge base.
That willingness to learn has the more experienced staff impressed.
"I'd go down range with them anytime," said Tim Hurley, a Department of the Army civilian quality assurance specialist with more than 28 years of experience. "It's my first time working with them, and even after two days they're the best unit I've ever worked with."