MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- What’s a Marine without a rifle, and what’s a rifle without ammunition? Engaging an enemy with an empty barrel is pointless. Without a supply of ammunition, Marines would no longer be able to fight the fight.
Marines at Field Ammo Supply Point keep the units training with Mojave Viper supplied with all the ammo they need to continue their training. They are responsible for making sure the correct ammo is received and a correct inventory is kept.
“We have three basic sections at the Field Ammunition Supply Point,” said Gunnery Sgt. David Hostuttler, officer in charge. “Records, which controls all documentation for the ammunition received and issued making sure we have the correct amount. Issues, which is the face of FASP, is with whom the training units conduct issues and turn-ins. Finally, the storage section, who is responsible for ensuring all ammunition is stored safely and is ready to be issued out.”
The Marines at the FASP, approximately three miles past Camp Wilson, are tasked with a job that requires long hours, 14 to 16 hour days, seven-days-a-week. They are responsible for the tracking and managing of millions of rounds of ammo, which are priced in the millions.
“We store around 750,000 short tons of ammo here, and issue about eight to 12, seven tons a day,” said Lance Cpl. Ricky Hopper, records. “Last year, we issued out $83 million worth of ammo from small arms to high explosive mortars.”
Recently, the FASP received four more ammo technicians because there were six battalions on deck, giving all support units increased workloads, and increased work hours.
“This area [FASP] is manned at all times,” said Hostuttler. “We are here to support all units and conduct operations 24/7. When there were six battalions on deck, we were working 14 to 16 hour days, seven-days-a-week.”
Ammo technicians take great pride in knowing their job is crucial for the Marine Corps to continue training.
“The infantry is getting ammo from us to maintain and sustain combat readiness skills to better sustain the fight,” said Sgt. Ian Tunnell, operations chief.
Cpl. James Clark, records chief, agrees with the importance of his job, “If you don’t have a bullet to put in your gun, you have nothing, it’s that simple.”
The Marines who work at the FASP are here on temporary duty assignment orders from east coast units, and are working with more ammo than usual.
“Mojave Viper is intense as far as ammunition usage goes,” said Hostuttler. “There is a lot of ammo distributed here. When it comes to accountability and serviceability of the rounds, we are responsible. We deal with all the ammo issued, and the ammo received, to also include returned unserviceable ammo.”
Behind concertina wire, the ammo techs at the FASP prepare ammo and check returned ammo, making sure it is still in good condition and can be reissued to other training units. They also deal with unserviceable ammo and request disposition to either destroy it or get it shipped out.
Knowing the power behind ammunition, the technicians keep constant accountability. Just like any other support unit, it is vital they know their job.
Lance Cpl. Mike Koger, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, unit ammo technician, expressed the importance of ammunition technicians in one simple phrase, “I issue death, one round at a time.”