ROCK ISLAND, Ill. – Joint Munitions Command, seven subordinate depots and more than 1,000 U.S. Army National Guard and Army Reserve Soldiers moved almost 9,000 tons of munitions as part of Operation Patriot Press this year, increasing both depot and Soldier readiness.
The annual exercise, which ran from mid-May to the beginning of August, allowed National Guard and Reserve Soldiers to access hands-on, real-world training to improve their Army occupational skills, opportunities that are typically difficult for these troops to acquire.
“Soldiers are actually able to do their jobs during Operation Patriot Press,” 1st Lt. Michael Shoop, OPP liaison officer for the 246th Transportation Battalion, Michigan Army National Guard out of Jackson, Michigan, said. “It’s great experience for our newcomers and returning Soldiers to come practice driving longer distances and doing onload and offload procedures.”
The Soldiers transported munitions JMC already needed to move to other depots that are better aligned with respective installation capabilities for demilitarization and maintenance.
JMC manages 17 arsenals, depots and ammunition plants that produce, ship, store and demilitarize all conventional munitions for the Department of Defense. The command is accountable for $59 billion of ammunition and missiles.
“Periodically, JMC realigns munitions from one of its subordinate depots to another to support mission requirements.” Seth Dismore, JMC’s logistics planning division chief, said. “If mission dictates that staging munitions at a different location to fit operations capabilities or would better benefit the warfighter, we move them. Having Soldiers transport the explosive items is important to provide training opportunities for soldiers, not to mention a massive help in terms of coordination and manpower.”
Unit participation in OPP is volunteer-based. Specific missions are listed in an Army database, including the types of ammunition to be moved as well as the drop off and pick up locations. Units can look up the various missions available and select those that meet their training requirements. The system benefits the Soldiers by providing them with valuable experience and helps the JMC enterprise accomplish its requirements at a lower cost.
“Operation Patriot Press is a win-win scenario,” Brig. Gen. Gavin Gardner, JMC commander, said. “Soldiers get the training they need and JMC meets its requirements to increase Army readiness. Real-world missions like this are essential to staying ready, reliable and lethal.”
In addition to the 246th Transportation Bn., other units involved in OPP include:
- The 2113th Transportation Co., Kentucky Army National Guard out of Paducah.
- The 1461st and 1463rd Transportation Co., Michigan Army National Guard out of Jackson and Augusta, respectively.
- The 1742nd and 740th Transportation Co., South Dakota Army National Guard out of Sioux Falls and Milbank, respectively.
- The 781st Transportation Co., Alabama Army National Guard out of Fort Deposit.
- The 376th Transportation Co., U.S. Army Reserve out of Missoula, Montana.
- The 1485th Transportation Co., Ohio Army National Guard out of Coshocton.
- The 370th Transportation Co., U.S. Army Reserve out of Brownsville, Texas.
- The 660th Ordnance Co., U.S. Army Reserve out of Pocatello, Idaho.
- The 962nd Ordnance Co., U.S. Army Reserve out of Plattsburgh, New York.
- The 851st Transportation Co., U.S. Army Reserve out of Sinton, Texas.
JMC subordinate installations involved include:
- Crane Army Ammunition Activity in Crane, Indiana.
- McAlester Army Ammunition Plant in McAlester, Oklahoma.
- Letterkenny Munitions Center in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
- Blue Grass Army Depot in Richmond, Kentucky.
- Hawthorne Army Depot in Hawthorne, Nevada.
- Anniston Munitions Center in Bynum, Alabama.
- Tooele Army Depot in Tooele, Utah.