The 452d Ordnance Company is an Army Reserve
unit based in Aberdeen, South Dakota, a small town nestled
in the northeast part of the state. The Soldiers of the unit
call 13 states home; company personnel come from California,
Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota,
Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and
Wyoming. In 2005, they assembled at Fort Riley, Kansas, to
begin an 18-month adventure.
Operating the Corps Storage Area
The company’s arrival at Logistics Support Area (LSA)
Anaconda in Balad, Iraq, in October 2005 was an exciting time.
It was, after all, a new place with new people and a new mission.
We were to provide ammunition support to coalition and joint
forces in the Iraqi theater by operating the corps storage
area (CSA). Instead of only issuing containerized, bulk shipments
to ammunition supply points (ASPs) that, in turn, would issue
the ammunition to customer units, we would be issuing ammunition
directly to using units, ammunition transfer holding points,
and ASPs throughout the theater. We were tasked to conduct
ammunition operations for over $360 million worth of ammunition
while emphasizing safety, accountability, equipment maintenance,
and operational efficiency.
That initial burst of enthusiasm was soon challenged by the
realization that we were one full platoon (44 Soldiers) smaller
than the unit we were replacing. We also realized that the
equipment we would inherit—over 200 pieces of rolling
stock and materials-handling equipment, twice the number authorized
by the modification table of organization and equipment—was
in need of annual services and operator-level maintenance.
During the relief-in-place and transfer-of-authority process,
we identified several areas that needed immediate attention
developed a plan of action. When we assumed the mission, the
CSA was operated more like an ASP (issuing ammunition directly
customer) than a CSA (issuing ammunition to the ASP that, in
turn, issued the ammunition to the customer). The amount of
ammunition managed was so large that the CSA was located at
two separate locations at LSA Anaconda. The challenges of inventorying,
accounting for, and managing the over $360 million worth of
ammunition dispersed over the two locations immediately became
apparent. Other areas of concern included the lack of experienced
Standard Army Ammunition System-Modernization (SAAS–MOD)
operators, the introduction of unique equipment such as family
of medium tactical vehicles (FMTV) trucks, and the need for
force protection updates at both ASPs.
With less than 60 days on the ground, the CSA experienced a
SAAS–MOD system crash that could have put operations
weeks behind and greatly hindered our ability to support customer
units. A meticulous process to replace and rebuild the entire
system was initiated and accomplished within 24 hours, bringing
the CSA back on line without a single customer noticing a difference
in the service provided.
|At the beginning
of the 452d Ordnance Company’s ammunition supply
point (ASP) renovation project in Iraq, this area
was used as a guard post for the ASP.
To raise operation standards from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) II to OIF 05–07
standards, we rewarehoused all stocks within the CSA. This improved the overall
accountability and safety of munitions that were dispersed over two ASPs. The
rewarehousing process successfully identified, consolidated, and stored items
with more than 370 different Department of Defense Identification Codes (DODICs),
spread out in more than 700 containers, to peacetime compatibility standards.
Over a 10-month period, 677 inventory site visits were completed during 3,913
transfers between depots to correct discrepancies dating back to OIF III. The
inventory team conducted a 100-percent inventory of all stocks within the first
4 months of the tour, which exceeded the Army regulatory requirement of
10-percent monthly cyclic inventories by 60 percent. This aided in the proficiency,
accountability, and safety of ammunition operations.
Managing ammunition stocks was only one challenge to our mission. The second
half of the equation was the management of personnel. A carefully orchestrated
continuity of effort among five different groups equally dedicated to the mission
of the CSA was vital. Personnel from the 452d; Kellogg, Brown and Root; the 21st
Cargo Transfer Company; the 610th Quartermaster Company; and civilian quality
assurance specialists (ammunition surveillance) supported the CSA, providing
materials-handling equipment support, force protection, and ammunition surveillance.
The success of this continuity can be verified through the monthly average movement
of more than 314 tons, or more than 1,662,903 rounds, valued at roughly $12,879,624,
to the ASP in Q-West supporting the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and
the monthly average movement of 1,376,993 rounds, valued at $1,633,551, to the
Ridgeway ASP supporting the II Marine Expeditionary Force. Tallil ASP supported
units in southern Iraq with a monthly average of 2,482,126 rounds valued at $816,302,
and our largest customer, the 4th Infantry Division in the Baghdad area, received
a monthly average of 3,012,509 rounds valued at $23,723,082. This success took
place while we simultaneously coordinated condition code H (salvage and free
issue) munitions for demilitarization.
shows the ammunition maintenance area in place when
the 452d Ordnance Company arrived in Iraq. Here,
Soldiers inspected, cleaned, and repacked ammunition
for distribution throughout the theater, storage,
or destruction. The HESCO barriers in the foreground
have since been replaced with steel revetment barriers.
Improving the CSA
By assessing procedural shortcomings and implementing changes
to the basic load ammunition holding area, we improved customer
support, accountability, and safety. A simple change to the
standing operating procedures ensured that customer units would
continue to have uninterrupted access to the area while maintaining
security and accountability of their ammunition. Safety was
improved theaterwide when an informational packet on the proper
handling and safety procedures for AT4 antitank weapons was
distributed to all customer units receiving AT4s.
Force protection improvements at the CSA included the addition
of 30 T-Wall barriers and 20 bunkers and improvement at the
entry control points. Infrastructure improvements included
the construction of a new ammunition turn-in facility and a
$2.9 million project to replace aging HESCO barriers (a collapsible,
wire-mesh container filled with sand) with revetment barriers.
These improvements increased the overall storage capability
of the CSA and simultaneously ensured against the spontaneous
and continuous explosion of munitions if struck by local insurgent
Our success resulted not only from flawlessly conducted full-scale
ammunition operations but also from employing a “one
team-one fight” concept by the Soldiers and civilians
operating the CSA.
First Lieutenant Tamera A. Greshik,
USAR, is the Executive Officer for the 452d Ordnance Company
in Aberdeen, South Dakota. She has been mobilized twice and
deployed once in the past 3 years in support of Operations
Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. She has a bachelor’s
degree in business administration from Rocky Mountain College
and is a graduate of the Ordnance Officer Basic Course.