By Mrs. Justine A Barati (AMC)June 9, 2009
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Denise Batchelor is working in a traditionally male-dominated occupation -- weapons and ammunition.
And just for the record Batchelor says, "I don't know that there is a difference between a man and a woman doing this job."
She is an Ammunition Logistics Assistance Representative/Quality Assurance Specialist, Ammunition Surveillance.
Batchelor is currently one of two women serving as ammo LARs.
She works for the Joint Munitions Command although finding her would require a trip to Ft. Bliss, Texas. There she is assigned to the 2/407th Army Field Support Battalion.
As an Ammo LAR for JMC, she is skilled in working with all types of conventional, chemical and missile related ammunition.
"I assist units and commanders with ammunition issues. I am the direct line of communication between the warfighter and JMC," said Batchelor.
The experience of ammo LARs is highly valued, and they deploy to combat zones.
Undeterred, Batchelor doesn't mind the deployments and genuinely supports the warfighter.
"I like the deployments and helping the Soldiers. (I'm willing to help) if there is anything I can do to make their job simpler--safer. All they have to do is pick up the phone and call--we're there for them."
Ammo LARs provide assistance and classes to Soldiers at the unit level, which include proper storage, handling, transportation, explosive safety, and accountability of Class V items. To gain those competencies does require a specific career series and course of training.
"All ammo LARs are assigned to Career Program 20, QASAS, and have successfully completed an intern program and assignments at depots, posts, camps, arsenals and various other locations both within and outside the continental United States. The assignments cover conventional, chemical, missile, and special weapons. Ammo LARs have many years of experience with ammunition. They are emergency essential and have numerous worldwide deployments, including Southwest Asia," she said.
Batchelor gained her experience during a year of training at the Defense Ammunition Center and another year as an intern at Blue Grass Army Depot where she rotated through multiple offices. Her time at Blue Grass was particularly memorable due to the nature of the process.
"As interns we did rotations in every different area of the depot--from shipping truck/desk, maintenance, demil and surveillance. (And) we learned all of that in a year. We rotated through a diverse amount of jobs," she said.
And after acquiring the necessary skills, Batchelor could then perform the various, technical tasks of an ammo LAR.
"Ammo LARs provide many functions. The ammo LAR provides technical assistance unique to ammunition, such as explosive safety during ammunition operations, technical guidance, inspection, accident/malfunction reporting, and a single point-of-contact for logistics assistance. This includes, but is not limited to range visits, providing data for specific ammunition items, providing guidance to transport ammunition, assistance with establishing safe ammunition storage and operating areas, and many other ammunition-related areas," she said.
Batchelor's story doesn't include military experience, but her respect for the work of a warfighter is evident.
"I never thought of myself as an ammunition expert--I am an expert at finding information from a vast group of colleagues and pushing it forward to the Soldiers. Working one-on-one with Soldiers whether at home station or in a deployed environment is the most fulfilling experience I can have."