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Would you stake your life, right now, on the condition of your equipment?
NEWS | Oct. 6, 2023

Leader Interview: CW3 Jones & SFC Conaway, 10th SG

U.S. Soldiers and Republic Of Korea Soldiers (ROK) conduct an urban breaching at Rodriguez Live Fire Range, South Korea, as part of Pacific Pathways..
Photo by Staff Sgt. Kwadwo Frimpong

MSG Half-Mast recently travelled back to Okinawa, Japan, where he met with CW3 Paul B. Jones, the Accountable Officer, 10thSupport Group (SG) ammunition depot, and SFC Alexander Conaway, the ammo depot NCOIC. The three of them discussed the challenges inherent with maintaining and sustaining ammunition in East Asia. [CW3 Jones’ and SFC Conaway’s biographies appear at the end of the article.]

MSG Half-Mast: Briefly describe the mission of the 10th SG ammunition depot, Torii Station, Okinawa.
CW3 Jones: 10th SG ammo depot executes Class V theater sustainment across Indo-Pacific Command (INDOPACOM). The organization maintains theater ammunition stocks by providing retail and wholesale logistics services across four prepositioned ammunition supply activities. All of our locations support current INDOPACOM operations and training requirements and are prepared to support potential future full spectrum operations.

MSG Half-Mast: Some of our readers may not be familiar with the Pacific Pathways exercise. Briefly describe the exercise and the support the ammo depot provides during the exercise.
CW3 Jones: Pacific Pathways is a U.S. Army Pacific-led initiative that has Army units conduct several stops in the region and train with foreign militaries in an expeditionary style. It deploys personnel and material to support security cooperation exercises with allies and partner militaries that, in turn, provides the INDOPACOM commander options for contingencies, such as humanitarian assistance or even conflict.
SFC Conaway: Pacific Pathways is a series of bilateral exercises throughout the INDOPACOM theater. We provide support to these exercises by issuing ammunition to training units via vessel and by providing quality assurance and surveillance support (performed by a quality assurance specialist, ammunition support or QASAS) on the ground for each exercise.

MSG Half-Mast: Does military ammunition have an expiration date, and does it differ by type of ammo? And would you explain how ammunition is destroyed if it’s damaged or expired?
SFC Conaway: Yes, it does. Expiration dates are managed by the QASAS through a variety of inspections. This does differ by ammunition type, as some items have a shelf life and installed life expiration.
There are a few ways that the ammo depot (Okinawa) destroys ammunition. If the ammunition can be destroyed locally, we coordinate with USAF or USMC EOD units on the island. The ammunition is issued to them, and they destroy it. If it’s ammunition that cannot be destroyed locally but can be destroyed at our Kawakami Depot (Honshu, Japan), then we’ll ship the ammunition via commercial vessel or landing craft utility (LCU) to the Japanese mainland. If neither of these options are feasible, then we ship the ammunition back to CONUS.

MSG Half-Mast: Due to the humid weather environment in Okinawa, are there any corrosion-related concerns or preventive measures necessary when storing and working around ammunition? If so, what are a few of the main concerns and preventive measures?
CW3 Jones: The humidity does play a huge factor in the serviceability of our stocks because none of our storage facilities are climate controlled. For missiles, rockets and other ammunition items that are sensitive to humidity, the QASAS increases the published inspection cycle to ensure that the desiccant is keeping the items dry. For extremely sensitive systems, a storage monitoring inspection is conducted once a week instead of the required three-month cycle. In the event of mold forming, a bleach and water solution is applied for removal. In the event of rust forming, a wire brush is used to remove the debris.
SFC Conaway: Spot checks are conducted daily as ammunition is issued or turned in from customer units. If an item is observed having rust or mold, the above-mentioned removal and preventative measures are applied as directed by the QASAS.

MSG Half-Mast: With safety being foremost in mind when working around ammunition, please describe any specialized training that Soldiers must have or that has been developed in the unit to assist them in performing their duties safely.
SFC Conaway: As an ammunition specialist, there’s certain training that is mandatory. Some of the mandatory training includes Introduction to Ammunition and Risk Management, as well as preparation of an SOP for ammo and explosives.
We also complete a host of additional training to become more proficient at our day-to-day job, which includes courses such as Army Electrical Explosives Safety, U.S. Army Explosive Safety Familiarization, Military Munitions Rules, Ammunition Publications, and many more.

MSG Half-Mast: You’re obviously subject-matter experts given your jobs and mission, but what information should be basic knowledge for ALL Soldiers when handling, storing or employing ammunition?
CW3 Jones: ATP 4-35.1, Ammunition and Explosives Handler Safety Techniques (Nov 21) covers the basic information with regards to handling, storing or employing ammunition. It provides procedures and safety considerations for handling ammunition and explosives at all levels, regardless of military occupational specialty (MOS) or type of unit. The primary focus of ammunition and explosives safety is to reduce the probability, as well as limit the damage, caused by unintended initiation.

CW3 Jones
has served 21 years in the Army, 10 of them as an enlisted Soldier in infantry, mechanized infantry and combat engineer units, and 11 of them as an ammunition technician. His military career started with Infantry basic training at Ft Moore (then Ft Benning), GA in 1984, followed by assignments at Fort Knox, KY; Camp Howze, ROK; and Fort Ord, CA. He was honorably discharged and served in the private sector as a machinist tool & die maker. In response to September 11, 2001, he joined the Army Reserves as a combat engineer and deployed in combat operations to Afghanistan. Soon after, he re-entered active-duty service and became a warrant officer in 2012. He deployed to Kuwait in 2015 and again deployed for combat operations in Afghanistan.
He was assigned to 10th SG in 2021.


SFC Conaway
has served 11 years as an ammunition specialist professional. Early in his career, he deployed to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. In 2016, he was selected to serve as administrative assistant for BG Calvert, the Deputy Commanding General – Maneuver for 1st Cavalry Division and deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Resolute Support. He was then assigned to HQ Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division as the schools NCO, land and ammo NCO and Defense Travel System coordinator. In 2018, he was assigned to 10th SG in Okinawa, Japan, and served in several positions to include the Support Operations (SPO) platoon sergeant, operations NCO for the ammo depot and is now serving as the ammo depot NCOIC.

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