By 13th Sustainment Command Expeditionary Public AffairsAugust 25, 2009
JOINT BASE BALAD, Iraq - The 23rd Ordnance Company out of Grafenwoehr, Germany, continues to assist with the withdrawal of Class V ammunition at Joint Base Balad, as MNC-I prepares to make reductions for the responsible drawdown of personnel and equipment in Iraq.
The mission of the 23rd Ord. Co. is to provide ammunition support to 16 locations throughout Iraq for Coalition forces.
The unit's executive officer, 1st Lt. Hunter J. Berg, said the ammunition is moving out of Iraq to Kuwait and Afghanistan.
"Basically, we are taking the (unneeded) items out of our inventory here and sending it to somebody else's," said Berg.
In May, the 23rd completed the largest retrograde mission the Corps Storage Area has experienced in its six-year history. Second platoon leader, 1st Lt. Terrence S. Flanagan, said roughly 50 storage containers, both 20 and 40 foot connexes, were loaded and shipped to Kuwait, containing more than $16 million of ammunition, reducing the Class V ammunition total in Iraq by nearly 20 percent.
Because of the new role of Coalition forces after the implementation of the security agreement and the drawdown of U.S. forces from Iraq, the need for this ammo has decreased. This does not mean all the ammo is being shipped back to the U.S., however. Now, it is turned in by re-deploying units leaving theater, inspected and sent to areas where the need for ammo is greater.
"The 23rd Ordnance Company maintenance section has also been doing its part by saving over $68 million by consolidating and identifying bench stock items and returning them to the Class IX supply system," said Flanagan.
After rounds are turned in by units, they are inspected, repackaged and sent to the pre-pull operators.
The process of ammo being redistributed throughout theater starts with the pre-pull section, said Spc. Miciah Smith, a pre-pull operator and East Orange, N.J. native.
"We pick up the paperwork, pull the ammo that is on the paperwork, palletize and set it up so that each unit that requires ammo can get it," said Smith. "Then we send it to the mini-berm where it is prepared and ready for shipping."
Sgt. Jesse Payton, the 23rd's turn-in section sergeant from Penn Lake, Pa., said if a unit has ammo they do not want, they turn it in to him. The useable ammo gets repackaged, and Kellogg, Brown and Root Inc. contractors determine if it can be kept. The ammo then goes into a connex and waits in the CSA for redistribution.
"We make sure that the counts of ammo are right and we deal with all kinds of ammo, from small arms to 2 3/4 inch rocket rounds," said Payton. "The unserviceable rounds are shipped to a different post, to an explosive ordnance disposal team, where the rounds will get detonated."
With the 23rd's deployment drawing to a close in October, Berg said he is proud of his Soldiers' work in Iraq.
"In my 19 years of service, these are the most hard-working Soldiers that I have had under my command," said Berg. "My (noncommissioned officers) make my job easy. They are the ones that make it happen."