By Mrs. Jennifer Bacchus (AMC)September 5, 2019
ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Approximately 65 Soldiers with the 395th Ordnance Company from Neenah, Wisconsin, trained at the Anniston Munitions Center during three rotations from July 13 to Aug. 23.
The unit, which has a munitions receipt, storage, inspection, shipment and demilitarization mission similar to that of ANMC, was able to practice skills needed in real world situations during their annual training.
"Our specific missions deal with running ammunition supply," said the 395th's 1st Lt. Drew Setzer. "It's a cool mission, knowing everything you are in charge of is something the warfighters need. We get to deliver the boom."
In 2017, according to Darrel Tackett, chief of Operations for ANMC, the organization asked to partner with ordnance units.
The partnership is a readiness win for everyone involved. ANMC receives additional personnel for the length of the training to assist in their missions and the unit practices skills they can't utilize in most annual training situations.
"When we were in Kuwait, we had to inspect munitions as they were leaving," said Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Evancheck. "Our Soldiers are doing a portion of what we do abroad."
Evancheck said some of the Soldiers are scheduled to be mobilized next year, so this experience is timely for them.
"They'll be putting what they learn into effect," he said.
When deployed, Setzer said the Soldiers typically work at the operational level of the mission - knowing what they are receiving, where it is going when it leaves them and how it should be stored in the interim. During this year's training, they received a little more of a strategic view of munitions operations.
The Soldiers learned about the half-life of munitions and other information they typically don't work with.
"This is similar to their military occupational specialty duties, but it's at a higher echelon," said Setzer. "Now, when they are doing their jobs in theater, they understand the bigger picture."
The Soldiers gained experience with:
• Blocking and bracing
• Maneuvering munitions
• Demilitarization operations
"That's another valuable piece of this training," said Setzer of the demilitarization operations. "We don't have the resources to emulate demilitarization under normal training conditions."
The equipment used at ANMC is similar to what the Soldiers use and the type of equipment they must maintain licensing on, so having time behind the wheel of forklifts, stackers and other heavy machinery was also invaluable.
"They're getting mentorship from civilians who do it all the time," said Setzer.
The partnership with ANMC and the 395th is scheduled to last two years, as the unit is slated to return to Anniston in 2020.