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Portable armories make munitions conveniently available

by Staff Sgt. Cassandra Locke
379th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

6/18/2007 - SOUTHWEST ASIA (AFPN) -- Two newly acquired portable armories on base are streamlining the weapons processes for Airmen in theater here.

The new armories will allow the 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron to roll up operations at one of their two armory locations and eventually combine their operations at a single location.

Previous operations here required the 379th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron to operate two armories with 16 personnel. These two armories provide ammunition and weapons heading into theater, as well as storing 13 coalition force's weapons assets, said 1st Lt. Steve Moore, 379th ELRS officer in charge of war readiness.

Also, those passing through the base are required to leave their weapons at the transient armory.

"This can be several days, or just a few hours," Lieutenant Moore said.

Falling in line with the Air Force Smart Operations for the 21st Century initiative, these new portable armories will potentially help lower the manpower requirement to 10 people by having all the required operations in one centralized location, he said.

Normally armory personnel have been needed to drive the weapons back and forth from the main armory to the transient armory, as well as to ensure security at both locations.

This isn't the case anymore.

In addition, members who have previously been required to stop at one location to sign-out a weapon, and then travel to another location to pick it up, will now be able to simply make one stop, and take care of all of their business. This efficient process makes perfect sense to Lieutenant Moore.

"This location will be closer to the customer, and will help lower transportation time by three hours per day for my personnel," said Lieutenant Moore, a native of Oklahoma City, deployed here from Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany. "It will also allow one-stop shopping for all members transiting the base, which shortens the wait time for those personnel transiting the base."

These armories will ease the burden on the host nation customs officials as there will be fewer weapons transported between the two armory locations.

"It eliminates back and forth trips from the Combined Air Operations Center side of the base to the transient armory in the operations part of the base," said Tech. Sgt. Joyce Brown-Ballard, 379th ELRS. "It will enhance the ability to have weapons readily available to the customer."

"The new armories will ensure the weapons are under higher security," said Tech. Sgt. Nancy Buchanan, 379th ELRS, deployed from Pope AFB, N.C., and a native of Newport News, Va.

Sergeant Buchanan said that security and accountability are important because each weapon is sight adjusted for that individual.

She also said the location of the base is another reason security and accountability is critical.

"We are in a deployed environment and we must be able to defend our base and ourselves, therefore people must have access to their weapon when ever needed. These armories play a big part in our defense in the AOR."

The 379th ELRS would not have had a smooth armory transition had it not been for the help of other base agencies, such as 379th ECES, ECS, ESFS, and 8th EAMS.

Weapons transfer is expected to begin once the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing force protection staff certifies the new armories are up to Department of Defense standards.

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