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Ammunition finds its way from Kuwaiti port to Marines' hands

Story by Sgt. W. A. Napper Jr.
Story Identification Number: 20032111136

KUWAIT(Feb. 2, 2003) -- Thousands of pounds of munitions were offloaded from a ship in a port here Feb. 2, by Sailors with Navy Cargo Handling and Port Group and contracted civilians aboard the S.S.Cape Jacob.

The operation has been going on for some time, with the constant undertaking of offloading, receiving and shipping of munitions.

According to Navy Lt. Marty Groover, Atlantic Ordnance Command Expeditionary Force officer-in-charge, more than 100 Sailors receive the ammunition from the ship, process it while ensuring its serviceability and ship it to location in which it is designated to go.

"We're a scaled-down forward deployment weapons station," he said. "If, during the processing, it is determined that a weapon is unserviceable, we ensure it's fixed properly before sending it forward. We're doing the same things that a regular ordnance unit would do."

Like many military units in Kuwait, operations with LANTORDCOM are around the clock since Jan. 6, and Groover said everything is running smoothly.

"We haven't had any problems," he said. "The ship's more than 40 years old and everything's running OK. We've had no mishaps - that's what you look for in ordnance."

Morale is high at the port, with both active duty and reserve Sailors involved realizing the importance of what they're doing - supplying ammunition that will be used by the Marines in the event of combat operations in the region.

"This is motivating," said Petty Officer 1st Class Jim H. Brown, LANTORDCOM storekeeper, 35, and Pennsylvania native. "It's exciting to know the work we're doing here is supporting ... Marine aviation units. I'm proud to be here - especially because my job is so important."

Like with any other order placed, the recipient has a distinct visualization about what they want, and this order is no different.

"These are my requirements they're trying to support - as big as it may be," said Maj. Ron Constance, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing ordnance officer, 45, and Michigan native. "They're doing a great job and they're way ahead of schedule."

Once the munitions depart the port, they are trucked to different locations throughout the country and stored in compounds surrounded by motion sensors. Everything from hand grenades to 2,000-pound bombs and napalm are shipped, ready for use whenever 3rd MAW needs them.

The Sailors with LANTORDCOM are part of a newly formed organization. More than 100 Sailors from the East Coast and with a variety of military occupational specialties were integrated to form this new expeditionary force, capable of providing ordnance-handling operations in forward locations throughout the globe.

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