Reserve unit keeps guns firing during Golden Cargo
"We keep the guns firing," said Spc. John Watkins, an ammunition specialist with the 826th Ordnance Company out of Madison, Wis.
Ammunition specialists participating in Operation Golden Cargo 2012, the 21st in a series of annual training operations sponsored by the Joint Munitions Command and executed by Reserve Component units, play a vital role in the war fight.
"Without us nobody would be able to do their job. We supply ammunition to all the units that are on the front lines," said Watkins, a Kenosha, Wis. native.
"We palletize munitions, we store and ship munitions, and we basically do anything regarding munitions; from small arms all the way up to rockets, mortars, and landmines," he said.
Ammunition specialists with the 826th have loaded hundreds of munitions for convoy operation across several state lines, as the exercise mirrors the efforts of munitions and supply transport in theatres of war overseas.
"How else are the door-kickers and the bullet-dodgers going to get their bullets? They get them from us," explained Staff Sgt. Fayaz Awan, a Racine, Wis., native and supply point noncommissioned officer in charge for the 826th.
"We run the biggest ammunition supply points in the world … the fight couldn't go on without an ammunition handler," said Awan.
Awan said the 826th has kept itself busy during Operation Golden Cargo--loading close to 100 vehicles within the past few days.
"We will have loaded approximately 95 vehicles by the end of today," said Awan.
For members of the 826th, the opportunity to be an ammunition specialist is an opportunity to serve.
"I wanted to do a little bit more than just a nine to five job everyday. I wanted to be able to work and say that I was part of something bigger than myself," said Belvidere, Ill., native Pvt. Alex Jones, an ammunition specialist with the 826th.
During Operation Golden Cargo, Jones and fellow ammunition specialists with Task Force Wildcat are learning from motor transport operators, movement control teams, and Soldiers with other specialties. Jones said he has welcomed the learning opportunities.
"I like to learn new things every day, so that I become more proficient at my job," said Jones.
The opportunities come with the responsibility of handling live munitions.
"We've got to have 100 percent accountability all of the time … we have to get it ready, to get it where it's going," said Jones.
Article by Sgt. Daniel D. Haun, 300th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment