During the last 10 years, the main focus for U.S. troops has been the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This has left civilian contracted companies as the driving force behind the Army’s supply of ammunition across the country, with the exception of one place.
For the past 18 months, Fort Hood’s ammunition supply point has been expertly handled by the soldiers of 664th Ordnance Company, 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command.
“We have 45 personnel on ground every day and we are the only ammunition supply point on Fort Hood. We not only supply every unit on Fort Hood, but all the Texas Reserve and National Guard guys get their ammo from here,” said Chief Warrant Officer-2 Sam Gabara, the accountable officer at the supply point.
For the Texas National Guard’s annual training, held at Fort Hood, Wrangler soldiers of the 664th were responsible for ensuring they got what they need safely.
“Right now, the big thing we are doing is supporting the 36th Infantry Division. They are here for their annual training as a division, which hasn’t been done in 10 years,” Gabara said.
On an installation as big as Fort Hood, ammunition specialists will handle a variety of munitions ranging from small 9 mm rounds, all the way up to the rockets that are used by the Multiple Launch Rocket Systems.
Because of the variety and the amount of munitions used — about 5,871 tons over the last 18 months — it is imperative that the Wrangler soldiers are constantly training.
“All of these soldiers have obviously been through (advanced individual training). There is an ammo handlers course here on Fort Hood that the majority of them have been to,” Gabara said. “All of our ammunition inspectors have gone through ammunition inspectors and HAZMAT inspection training.”
On average, the company processes 14 transactions a day, consisting of seven ammunition turn-ins and seven ammunition issues.
But the ammo dogs are not going to be here forever.
The company is pending a deployment to help with the drawdown of combat operations overseas, and to oversee the safe and successful extraction of munitions back to the United States.
This pending deployment could open the door once again for civilians to step back to the forefront of Fort Hood ammunition supply operations. Currently, there are a couple of options available for a long term solution to running the ammunition supply point.
One option is to contract a civilian company to perform operations, which has been done at other installations across the U.S. Another course of action is a hybrid solution. This option would mean augmenting soldiers with a temporary work force of 15 to 20 civil service personnel.
Whichever option Fort Hood chooses, the soldiers of the 664th believe that all ammunition supply points could easily be managed by ordnance units.
“Every (supply point) should be run by the soldiers if there is an ordnance unit on that post,” said Staff Sgt. Christopher J. Miserlian, the stock control noncommissioned officer in charge at the supply point. “It comes down to managing every ordnance company and there is no reason that unit can’t run the ASP even with deployments.”
A unit such as the 664th Ordnance consists of three platoons that are independently run and deployable. This could enable the unit to easily run points both here and overseas if managed correctly, Miserlian said. But for now, it looks like the Fort Hood supply point will be managed by civilians, at least until these ammo dogs return.