FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 14, 2018) - The cardinal rule of explosive safety is to expose the minimum amount of personnel to the minimum amount of ammunition for the minimum amount of time required for mission accomplishment. To ensure this rule is followed, the Army trains the ammunition warrant officer, MOS 890A, to mitigate hazards and ensure the safety of the users, handlers, garrison and public.

The Army ammunition warrant officer assists the commander and the brigade safety officer with explosive safety with three primary skill sets. The first is ammunition accountability. All ammunition and explosives must be properly accounted for at all times. Think of the local ammunition supply point like your local bank. When a unit requests and receives AE for training, it is deducted from the ASP account and annotated on record documents. At the completion of the training, all unused AE must be returned to the ASP and deposited back on the ASP account. Ammunition residue -- left over items such as brass cartridges, ammunition containers, etc. -- also has to be turned in. Added together, the expended residue and unexpended live ammunition must reconcile to the amount withdrawn from the ASP.

The ammunition warrant officer ensures units conduct this process in accordance with Army supply regulations. Any discrepancies result in freezing the unit's account from further activity and the ammunition warrant officer contacting leadership for resolution. This process ensures ammunition is not left on the range, accidently dropped from a vehicle during transportation or left in the hands of troops. There are plenty of news reports of Soldiers caught with AE in their possession illegally. While no process is foolproof, the accountability procedure helps ensure AE is not left unsecured and presenting a hazard to the Soldiers, command and the public.

Second, the ammunition warrant officer at the ASP and field training exercises helps quality assurance specialists ensure all AE is properly transported over the installation and public highways and stored properly in accordance with range control regulations. Units transporting AE must have fully mission capable vehicles that pass a rigorous inspection using DD Form 626 (Motor Vehicle Inspection-Transportation Hazardous Materials). Vehicles found to have faults must be repaired or replaced prior to transport.

Equally important is properly securing the AE on the vehicles. This control measure helps reduce the severity of effects if there is a vehicle mishap or accident. The Army ammunition warrant officer and quality assurance specialist are both vital to reducing risks during AE transportation.

Finally, the ammunition warrant officer provides subject matter expertise to commanders at all levels. They offer guidance on safe and regulatory AE storage procedures, deviation procedures, physical security, transportation, issue and receipt procedures, and overall explosive safety. The ammunition warrant officer acts as a staff officer to the local commanders when needed and is an active participant in the senior commander's explosive safety management planning, boards and councils.

Safety is an inherent responsibility of commanders at all levels. Army ammunition warrant officers play a key role in the command's explosive safety success.

Chief Warrant Officer 5 Haynes is a senior ammunition logistician at the U.S. Army Combat Readiness Center at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Chief Warrant Officer 2 Yoon is the brigade ammunition technician for the 1st Armored Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

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