By Mrs. Rachel C Selby (AMC)April 15, 2019
Clint Redding, a Quality Assurance Specialist (Ammunition Surveillance) or QASAS here at Pine Bluff Arsenal, was recognized with a Commander's Award for Civilian Service and with a Secretary of Defense Medal for the Global War on Terrorism, both from Col. Jeffrey S. Niemi with the 401st Army Field Support Brigade. Both accolades were presented to Redding by Arsenal Commander Col. Luis Ortiz during a recent staff meeting.
Redding, who has been at the Arsenal since August 2017, said both certificates come from a six month deployment he did in 2018.
"When I first got here, I was in the QASAS Intern Program at McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in Oklahoma. Typically, the way the program works is you are an intern for a year at the school house at McAlester, then you get sent to an OJT (On Job Training) site for a year," he said. "I became a full-time QASAS in early March 2018, and was deployed a few weeks later."
The deployment notice was to Kuwait at Camp Arifjan, explained Redding.
"The QASAS chief there in Kuwait came to me and explained that there was some issues with some ammunition in Syria. They wanted a subject matter expert to come in and give them a corrective action plan," he said. "This is what they wanted, however, we didn't have to go and the entire mission would be on a voluntary basis. I told them I would do it."
Redding said this was the first time the QASAS program had supported a mission in Syria. "I haven't been in the program that long but I had a few people tell me that this was a pretty big deal," he said. "When I went to Syria, I went and advised them on how to set up their ammunition storage points and also helped with different compatibility issues and helping set their net explosive weights for safety reasons."
He said a lot of ammunition leaves places like the Arsenal in perfect condition, however, once it is transported to the field for use then is sent back to supply points, it isn't in that condition.
"I showed the Soldiers in Syria how to re-pack things properly and safety precautions to take while doing this," said Redding. "Anything that comes through to QASAS without the proper markings has lost its lot identity, and is unfit for issue. We don't know anything about it."
Redding said he saw a lot of ammunition during his deployment from the Arsenal. "I ran across smoke grenades and mortars there," he said.
Redding will deploy again in July for Afghanistan. "This will be my second deployment in two calendar years," he said. "I volunteered for this one. When we do deploy, even though we are civilians, we adhere to military customs."
QASAS, which is the oldest civilian career program in the Department of the Army, provide ammunition support service critical to the Department of Defense by ensuring the ammunition warfighters use, both in training and on the battlefield, function properly according to the way it was designed and manufactured.
"In addition to the inspecting and quality surveillance, we make sure that notification sent by JMC on items are applied -- such as condition coding," said Redding.
QASAS are also under a mandatory mobility agreement. "So far I've only had to go through one move," said Redding. "It has been a great experience."