MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. --
Supplying Fightertown with more than 1,600 tons of ordnance a year, the Air Station ordnance Marines are always busy. Whether it be launching test missiles or clearing the M61-A1 20 mm machine gun attached to the F/A-18 Hornet, the ordnance technicians know each moving part of the racks and weapons systems for any air mission.
Ordnance is separated into five different departments; the rack shop, the gun shop, aviation weapons support equipment, the ammunition stock recording section and munitions.
Fightertown’s ordnance team supports and supplies the seven aviation squadrons with arms. In return, the different units aboard Fightertown support the team.
The Provost Marshals Office provides the primary security for the ordnance and Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron stores it until a squadron needs it, according to Staff Sgt. Lesonly Stanley, workshop supervisor with the Air Station.
“If we go on a detachment from our shop, we can be recruited and put in any ordnance shop,” said Sgt. Jonathon Creamur, an ordnance technician with the Air Station.
Ordnance Marines receive on-the-job training to be proficient to work in any shop while deployed or otherwise.
Although the ordnance Marines work and repair different systems, they are detailed and careful from start to finish.
“We have to check the gear and any other piece of equipment from scratch,” said Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Carlos Watkins, an aviation ordnance ammunitions stock recording section chief with station ordnance. “If you check everything the right way, there is less probability of something failing when you need it to work.”
After the individual ordnance shops inspect the gear, the Collateral Duty Inspector is called in to verify the Marines cleaned and repaired the equipment as necessary.
It is CDI’s job to ensure the equipment works as advertised and puts their stamp of approval on it. After that, if the gear is not needed in the near future, it is stored in the preservation building.
“The building holds any piece of gear that we want to take out of the inspection cycle,” Stanley said.
According to Watkins, storing the gear in the preservation building cuts down on unnecessary maintenance and keeps it ready for issue whenever the squadrons need it.
The ordnance Marines not only work together, but they have individual tasks to take care of around the shop.
“I come into work, do the daily (tasks) and check out the publications to see what has to be done today and start working on it,” said Pfc. Patrick Taylor, an ordnance technician. “If there is a gun that comes in the shop, we check it,” said Taylor. “We break it all the way down, clear it, and start maintenance from the beginning.”
It’s the different shops in ordnance that keep the squadrons armed and ready for the fight.
“We build the ordnance and (the pilots) drop it,” Creamur said.
“Without aviation ordnance, any combat or training mission would not be as successful,” according to Stanley. “Our mission is to put ordnance on the ground, to support our troops and drop ordnance on selected targets.”