UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


83d Ordnance Battalion

The 83rd Ordnance Battalion acts as the US Army senior headquarters in southern mainland Japan. Its mission is to operate 4 strategic prepositioned ammunition supply activities in support of US Pacific Command (PACOM) full spectrum operations and the Joint Munitions Command's maintenance and demilitarization programs. It would, on order, deploy as a battalion headquarters to provide modular ammunition logistics support to US and coalition forces.

The headquarters of the 83rd Ordnance Battalion was situated in the port city of Kure, 20 kilometers from Hiroshima, over 500 miles southwest of Camp Zama. The 83d Ordnance Battalion was responsible for storing Army ammunition prepostioned stocks, ammunition basic load, training ammunition, and operational stocks. The Battalion operated 4 storage locations across Japan: the Akizuki (known as the Kure Ammunition Depot Complex), Hiro, and Kawakami depots (known collectively as the Kure Ammunition Depot Complex), and Chibana Compound located on Okinawa.

As the only Army unit in southern mainland Japan, the 83rd Ordnance Battalion had the important mission of providing ammunition to the entire Pacific Theater. The Battalion capabilities included: Ammunition support for PACOM, ability to handles 131,000 Short Tons/YR (6 Light Division Ammunition Basic Load), earth covered magazines, above ground magazines caves, renovation line (869 Short Tons/YR), deactivation furnace (874 Short Tons/YR), shipping operations (9 Container and 6 Ammunition Ships/YR), 21,000 Short Tons/YR (1 Light Division Ammunition Basic Load), container repair, and the operation of 3 LCM 8 watercraft. Battalion assets included ammunition depots at Hiro, Akizuki and Kawakami. The largest, at Kawakami, housed some 14,000 short tons of conventional ammunition on 645 acres and was the site of a deactivation facility and repair and maintenance facility. Ninety percent of the battalion workforce, located at 4 sub-installations, was Japanese.

Most of the soldiers in the unit mingled with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force personnel, whose facilities surround the US installation on 3 sides. JMSDF ships and submarines were moored beyond a sea wall outside the US BOQ that doubled as single-soldier quarters. Those who were assigned to the headquarters lived on an installation that consisted of only 4 buildings. There was only a very small commissary, and no post exchange. The few amenities included tennis and racquetball courts, a sauna and a roof-top Jacuzzi that overlooked Japan's Inland Sea.

The Army demilitarizes ammunition, that is to say totally destroys its military offensive or defensive attributes. Mutilation, burning, detonation, cutting, and crushing are some of the processes used to "demil" inert and live ammunition. The 83rd Ordnance Battalion had a "Demil Furnace" to de-activate small explosive components, such as approved small arms ammo, artillery fuzzes, blasting caps, primers, and any small explosive devices by incineration. The 83rd Ordnance Battalion's furnace was the only DDESB licensed and approved burn site to demilitarize ammunition in Japan. The joint use facility had been designed to incorporate some of the demil workload of the Marines, Air Force, and Navy. An important benefit beyond the cost savings was safety. Range brass (expended small arms) was normally collected and turned in to the Defense Reutilization Marketing Office (DRMO). However, it required 100 percent visual screening to preclude live ammo from being inadvertently turned over to the general public. The Demil Furnace would ensure the brass' safety. It had 3 major parts, the feed room area, the retort assembly or incineration chamber, and the pollution abatement system.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list