By Staff Sgt. John PortelaApril 15, 2019
JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR HICKAM, Hawaii -- More than 40 Pacific based military munitions experts gathered Apr. 4, at the Historic Hickam Officers Club for the first ever Pacific Theater Munitions Summit, hosted by the 8th Theater Sustainment Command.
The 8th TSC serves as U.S. Indo-Pacific Command's lead integrator for logistics, responsible for synchronizing sustainment activities across the Pacific theater. The Pacific Theater Munitions Summit is one of the ways the command brings together its strategic partners to establish favorable sustainment conditions and solutions for success across the Pacific.
Attendees for the summit included representatives from INDO-PACOM, U.S. Army Pacific, U.S. Marine Forces Pacific, 25th Infantry Division and the 402nd Field Support Brigade based here in Hawaii. Representatives from U.S. Army Alaska; Eighth United States Army, based in Korea; U.S. Army Japan and the 10th Regional Support Group, Japan also participated in the summit.
Col. Stephen Howell, Support Operations Officer in Charge for the 8th TSC provided opening remarks, emphasizing that munitions support for the Pacific theater and the summit is indeed a team effort.
"Please do not view this summit as an 8th TSC thing," said Howell. "We are here to facilitate collaboration. It's a Pacific theater working group designed to create shared understanding of issues and to collectively develop solutions."
Munitions experts in the Pacific are responsible for controlling and distributing ammunition in INDO-PACOM's area of responsibility with storage facilities in Alaska, California, Hawaii, Guam, Japan, South Korea and several other locations.
Munitions experts also conduct critical serviceability inspections for unit training, pre-mobilization training, mobilization training, and deployment.
Col. Howell thanked the crowd for their hard work over the last few years in coordinating deliveries of critical munitions to ammunition depots in the U.S. to Korea, Japan, Alaska and Hawaii.
"In total, the munitions comprised of items for combat load, sustainment load, operational and training ammunition requirements are valued at over $4 billion," said Howell. "It takes a team effort to manage such a valuable commodity. With your hard work and dedication, we are knocking it out of the park!"
The goals for the summit were to address the challenges with ammunition storage in the Pacific theater, identify issues related to current stock status and discuss new technologies focused on improving the worldwide munitions availability and production.
One of the key issues discussed during the summit was ammunition storage for sister services during large-scale combat operations, demonstrating why integration with joint military partners is critical in munitions operations.
"What we're looking for is to better link the Army with the Marine Corps and see how we can work jointly together to provide the services what we should be taking to the fighting forces," said Master Gunnery Sgt. Michael Barnhouse, Ammunition Chief assigned to MARFORPAC, Camp Smith Hawaii. "What I expect to get out of the summit is looking at different avenues where we can work together and support each other."
Chief Warrant Officer 3, Jared Yang, representing the 402nd AFSB discussed the challenges that come with accountability in munitions operations.
"Usually units ask for more than what they are authorized or more than what they need for training events and it takes them longer to account and turn in back in, which causes back logs," said Yang. "The summit brings awareness to the community about challenges and issues that we have within the theater and the Army."
8th TSC hopes to continue to host the summit biannually to continue to move the ball forward with regards to fixing shortfalls in the munitions community to better support the warfighter.
"This is our first summit, therefore, we will capture your feedback at the conclusion and make the next summit even better," said Howell. He hopes that current and future attendees will come with an open mind, get all the knowledge they can and make Class V ammo management better.