JMC takes its expertise directly to Soldiers

FORT HOOD, Texas - Many at Joint Munitions Command may not realize that we have an ammunition expert stationed at Fort Hood, Texas.

This man is skilled in working with all types of conventional, chemical and missile related ammunition. His name is Mark Combs, and he is assigned to the 407th Army Field Support Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Logistics Support Element.

"I provide assistance to unit and brigade levels commanders, while providing technical support to the brigade ammunition warrant officers. I keep unit points of contacts up to date on newly fielded ammunition and ensure explosive safety is adhered to while on the ranges. I conduct malfunction investigations and provide feedback to the Joint Munitions Command on probable cause and recommend proper courses of action. I am the voice of JMC that faces the warfighter and the voice of the warfighter that faces JMC," said Combs.

Combs is a Quality Assurance Specialist, Ammunition Surveillance, Ammunition Logistics Assistance Representative working for JMC. JMC is the provider for bombs and bullets to America's fighting forces -- all services and all types of conventional munitions.

The experience of Ammo LARs is highly valued, and they deploy to combat zones. While deployed, the Ammo LARs "provides classes to soldiers at the unit level, which include proper storage, handling, transportation, explosive safety, and accountability of Class V items."

"I provide training to Army school trained Ammunition Specialists (89 Bravos) in item recognition, inspection, classification, proper packaging, markings, safe handling of packaged/unpackaged munitions, and proper storage procedures," said Combs.

He recently returned from Mosul, Iraq. There, he assisted Soldiers at the ammunition supply point with unit turn-ins, provided technical assistance and answered questions relating to the types of the munitions received."

"Ammo LARs bring a lot of knowledge base I don't think soldiers get during their initial Military Occupational Specialty training. When Soldiers come to Fort Hood their chances of working with ammunition on a routine basis is rare. When the unit is notified to deploy, the 89Bs are expected to remember what was taught to them 12 to 15 months earlier -- that's where we provide the 'most value' to the warfighter," said Combs.

He says he uses mentoring techniques to teach the 89 Bravos about ammunition responsibilities. "We are not there to dictate to a soldier how to complete a particular task; we are there to make recommendations and prevent them [the Soldiers] from causing injury and death to themselves and the folks around them. They can benefit from our experiences."

When Combs is back in the office at Fort Hood, he spends a lot of time at the various types of firing ranges. "I see a lot of units on the ranges on any given day. During my range visits I answer their ammunition questions," he said.

Combs enjoys working with Soldiers and said that is why he chose to become an Ammo LAR. "Working one-on-one with Soldiers whether at home station or in a deployed environment is the most fulfilling experience I can have," he said.

He is one of JMC's Ammo LARs, civilians in mandatory mobility positions. He is currently assigned to Fort Hood. Because he is in a mandatory mobility position, he is reassigned to different Army units throughout the world every five years. He began his assignment at Fort Hood in May 2005.