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NEWS | Feb. 21, 2013

'Ammo dogs' to the rescue! Resolute Warriors run ASP to keep rounds in chambers

By Sgt. Edwin Rodriguez 7th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs

Before the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, large numbers of U.S. Army ammunition specialists operated ammunition supply points in garrison and overseas in combat zones downrange.

Times have changed, and now a group of Resolute Warriors, in charge of the Fort Eustis ASP, are the only active duty unit actively managing this specialty.

Twelve Soldiers from the ammunition management section assigned to the 7th Sustainment Brigade have operated the post's ASP since July 2012, where they will remain until relieved by civilian contractors.

Assigning the Soldiers to man the ASP came via a crucial decision made last summer: close the ASP, or find somebody to keep it open as soon as possible.

"[Army Support Activity] charged us with keeping the ammunition supply point open," said Chief Warrant Officer Joseph Swartout, an ammunition technician assigned to Special Troops Battalion's Headquarters & Headquarters Company. "They said they could either shut it down - which would impact every Army unit in the tidewater region - or we could use our ammunition specialists to keep it open and maintain it until contractors can take over, which could take about a year."

The ammo techs and specialists accepted the challenge to keep the ASP open, providing Soldiers a reassurance in knowing there will be no major changes in acquiring ammunition for training.

The Soldiers knew they would maintain their normal responsibilities to the brigade in addition to manning the ASP, but answered proudly when called upon by the Department of the Army to assist.

"We are one of the only active duty units that is managing an ASP. We serve 30 units in the area, to include Reserve Officers' Training Corps programs, Reserve units, and outside units like the Newport News Police Department and the Criminal Investigation Department. It is a great opportunity for us," said Swartout. "If we didn't take over, the ASP and ammunition program would be shut down."

In July, civilian contractors will take over management of the ASP. However, the "Ammo Dogs" diligence in manning the ASP ensures customers will not miss a beat in their training schedules.

The specialists themselves gain valuable experience by working in their profession, keeping proficiency in their skill sets.

"It is good for ammo specialists to do their job while in garrison. They are bettering themselves, their unit and the Army," Swartout said. "They are getting great experience here while supporting the brigade and the tidewater region."