By Mr. Tony Lopez (Joint Munitions Command)January 24, 2020
#Soldier for Life is a JMC series honoring our employees who have served in uniform. This week's Soldier for Life feature is SFC (Ret.) Dan Saito.
Q: What did you do in the Army?
"My first four years were as an infantryman. I had two years with the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. I was a good enough shooter to join the division's rifle marksmanship team to compete at different installations and help teach rifle marksmanship throughout the 101st."
"My next assignment was with the 25th Infantry Division, where I became an anti-armor infantryman with the TOW anti-tank missile mounted on M151 Jeeps. I also joined the 25th ID rifle team to further improve my marksmanship and teach rifle marksmanship to soldiers throughout the 25th ID."
"I re-enlisted to change my Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) to an armament repairman to increase my knowledge of weapons. I learned to repair weapons from small arms (pistols, rifles, machineguns) through artillery (towed and self-propelled) and armament of the Bradley Fighting Vehicles, the M60-series tanks, and the then-new M1 Abrams Tank. I spent the next 20 years fixing weapons or working in the logistics support system to manage the repair of weapons and procuring weapon repair parts."
Q: What ties to the work you do now at JMC? How has being a soldier helped in your career and life?
A: "The NCO's mission is primarily to 'take care of our Soldiers.' That is still part of my core principle. The job I do now is to test and analyze all small arms ammunition to ensure what the new generation of Warfighters have is the best quality ammunition that we can provide. My Army career as an armament repairman gives me a much broader 'systems perspective' expertise to help me accurately analyze malfunctions of weapons and ammunition, since I understand the intimate workings of the weapon systems that fire the ammo we provide."
The recent article, https://www.army.mil/article/225947/ shows Dan's commitment "to train the younger employees in our office to better understand our mission, and to teach them about weapons and ammunition so they have some hands-on knowledge and understanding to enable them to provide better service and support to Warfighters in the field."
Q: What does being a Veteran mean to you?
A: "It means being part of a relatively small part of the nation's population, a brotherhood and sisterhood of patriots, who at one point in our lives were willing to leave friends and family behind to go off to fight wars to protect democracies or victims of genocide, with no guarantees of coming home alive or in one piece, physically or mentally. I know that I am one of the lucky Veterans who completed a full Army career with minimal disabilities and can still continue to serve my country in this DoD Civilian capacity."
Thank you for your service!