FORT KNOX, Ky. – He used to issue small arms ammunition as a member of the Utah National Guard. Becoming an active-duty Soldier with the 1st Theater Sustainment Command has given him career growth, opportunity, a supportive team-environment, and that chance to inspect Patriot Missiles.
Cpl. Pelesala Faleseu, ammunitions specialist, 1st TSC, became a member of the Utah National Guard right after he graduated from high school.
“I participated in Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps in high school; and I loved that,” Faleseu said. “So, I decided to join the UNG, and my parents supported that decision. I went to see a recruiter and I was off to training shortly after that,” he added.
“Ammunition specialist was the first job my recruiter talked to me about, and it really got my attention - getting to work with ammunition and explosives. So, I chose to go the [ammunition specialist] route. The recruiter wasn’t wrong; I love it. Ever since I got home from Advanced Individual Training and started doing my job, it’s been a great experience! I really love ammo!”
Faleseu has a lot of memories serving seven years with the UNG and working as a full-time technician at the Camp Williams Ammunition Supply Point. He recalls one mission as the most impactful.
“I was activated with the 222nd Field Artillery, Charlie Company, UNG, during the 2021 presidential inauguration in D.C.,” he shared. Faleseu was awarded the first of its kind, National Guard Presidential Inauguration Support Ribbon, for his work during the deployment.
“They drew the ammo from my ASP, so I issued it and followed the ammo to D.C. with the 222nd, safeguarding that ammo during the mission. They also wanted someone to help the unit with packaging and repackaging when it was time to return. I kept accountability, and every single piece of ammo that went came back,” he said.
Faleseu also provided security during the inauguration. “We were on guard duty, rotating every two hours,” he said. “Everyone was still waiting for the announcement of who won the election, so we remained vigilant,” he added.
The ammunition specialist is very proud of that mission. “I was part of history, standing guard by the Jefferson Library of Congress. It was nice to see that the American People were glad that we were there too, and they were also very giving. They brought us food and drinks every day during those three weeks we provided security,” he described.
Faleseu wanted to grow his profession. “It was my wife, Kailei, who encouraged me to make the move to active duty,” he said. “She is so supportive of my career,” the corporal added about his wife. They now live at Fort Knox with their three young children.
Faleseu said that he learned the basics of his job serving as an ammo handler with the UNG, where he issued ammo, took returns, and performed inspections.
“Thankfully I had that experience with the UNG, and it helped me transition into my job here very well. I brought a lot to the table when I started, and I’ve just been learning more and more every day,” the ammo specialist said.
Faleseu arrived at the 1st TSC in January 2022. “I went down range for about three months, and travelled throughout our areas of responsibility and I did a lot of ammunition inspections. I also ensured that all the ammo was good to travel,” he said.
Interacting with his teammates overseas is what Faleseu describes as the most interesting part of his job with 1st TSC. “It’s very reassuring to me that we have a hand in being a part of something big. It gives me purpose to be able to work with others down range and have a mission that’s very impactful on everyone’s lives,” he said.
Faleseu said that a lot goes into inspecting ammo and that each piece of ammo has its own coordinating checklist provided by those from quality assurance. “All the way from small arms ammo to missiles, we know what to check for and what to report,” he said. “We’re checking for dents, any residue left on the side of the container, and we look at the primer.
“I’ve had the opportunity to inspect ammo here that I’ve never seen before, and it’s really expanded my knowledge,” he said. “I got to look at some foreign ammo, a Javelin, and Patriot Missiles,” he explained.
Faleseu has long-range career plans in the Army. “I hope to one day to become a warrant officer – a subject matter expert in my field, and just keep perfecting it until I retire. I want to be able to hand my knowledge down to the next person in the ammo world,” he said.
“I want to make a career serving in the Army, Faleseu said confidently. I love it, and I really love my job too, the ammo specialist reiterated.
He knows the importance of doing his job accurately. “Ammo is being used for real world missions as well as training,” Faleseu explained. “It’s used to ensure Soldiers get the training they need. It’s no joke. Everything we use needs to be up to par so that our Soldiers are safe using the ammo.”
Faleseu said that his section in Support Operations, Ammunitions has been nothing but supportive of him and think he has leadership skills. Pam Lindberg, SPO Logistics Management Specialist, ammunitions, 1st TSC, said, “Cpl. Faleseu’s knowledge and professionalism far exceeds his peers.”
Sgt. 1st Class Faatali Siaea, SPO chief ammunitions NCOIC, 1st TSC added, “Cpl. Faleseu is a hard worker and has the potential to be a great leader in the future, and I cannot wait to serve with him again if given the chance.”
The corporal shares his respect and appreciation for his team. “I wouldn’t be as great at my job if it wasn’t for my team,” he said. “They are very helpful and have elevated me to a higher level, and they just continue to support and show love for me and the love I have for ammo.”