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Reserve Soldiers 'sweep' excess ammo

By Ms. Lisa Simunaci (AMC) | U.S. Army Material Command | Jan. 25, 2017

January 11, 2017 — Army Reserve Soldiers are helping reduce excess ammunition at Aberdeen Proving Ground as part of Operation Clean Sweep.

The Installation's Logistic Readiness Center oversees the Ammunition Supply Point which is responsible for all ammunition movements.

"Limited resources and recent reorganization have resulted in an accumulation of ammunition and explosives now considered excess," said Larry Giles, plans and operations chief for Aberdeen's Logistic Readiness Center. The operation identified more than 2,000 lines of excess ammunition, with each line containing from one artillery shell to several thousand rounds of small arms munitions.

Operations like this, with real-world impact, are the kinds of missions the Army Materiel Command's Reserve Component Mission Support Office continues to seek out, said Maj. Gen. Elizabeth Austin. As the Army Materiel Command Deputy Commanding General Army National Guard, Austin has focused on matching Reserve Component troops with Army requirements.

"Operation Clean Sweep is one of those win-win situations that provides valuable training for the Reserve Component and performs a much needed task," Austin said. "Not only does it make good sense, it also saves the Army time and money."

For Aberdeen Proving Ground, landing skilled experts made a meaningful impact on a lingering issue.

"One of the biggest challenges in clearing the excess has been a lack of qualified ammunition personnel," Giles said. "The Army Materiel Command and its Reserve Component Mission Support Office played a major role in locating and coordinating available units to take on our excess ammunition mission."

An initial rotation of Army Reserve Soldiers made a dent in the mission and four follow-on rotations will continue the clearing into 2017.

Ammunition specialists from the 351st Ordnance Company, 321st Ordnance Battalion recently spent two weeks at the installation, using their skillsets to safely prepare and load shipments while properly documenting their efforts.

"Because of their ammunition supply background, these Soldiers were already familiar with the process; they just had to be shown the particulars," said Clayton Ellis, APG's Ammunition Supply Point branch chief. "This training in a real-world mission is hands-on information they can take back with them."

For the West Virginia-based Reserve Soldiers, the mission provided an opportunity to practice their craft in a way that can't be replicated by traditional training, said Sgt. Leif Dorman, who handles operation and training for the 321st Ordnance Battalion.

"Working with live ammunition gives a sense of accomplishment and is more meaningful," Dorman said. "It also provides relevance."

Beyond the training opportunity, the mission also helps the Reserve units forge valuable relationships, said Maj. Chad Maynard, the battalion's executive officer.

"The partnerships we're building with the Army Materiel Command, the National Guard and our active-duty counterparts are the biggest win," Maynard said. "It really gives us a chance to branch out."