MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
While the main body for Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Central Command 16.1 prepares to initiate the Integrated Training Exercise portion of their pre-deployment training, a group of Marines arrives at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms, California, to begin setting up the field ammunition supply point, or FASP.
ITX is conducted to enhance the integration and warfighting capability from all elements of the Marine Air Ground Task Force.
Over the course of a week before the beginning of ITX, the Marines of Combat Logistics Battalion 1, Ammunition Detachment, hit the ground and occupied nearly 500 acres of desert, which houses the FASP.
The FASP is the main ammunition distribution point supplying units participating in ITX and stores ammo ranging from artillery rounds to small arms ammo and grenades.
“The FASP is everything that we would do at the ammunition supply point at Camp Pendleton. We issue all the ammo whenever units request it and support them in the same sense, except we are out in the field,” said Gunnery Sgt. John Paul Delgado, the SPMAGTF ammo chief with CLB 1, Ammunition Detachment.
Prior to arriving at the combat center, the group of ammunition technicians had worked through lengthy hours of planning and coordination to ensure the proper setup of the FASP.
Units slated to participate in the field training exercise submit their ammunition requests, which are based on their training requirements. It is The FASP team’s job to pick up the ammunition and store it until the unit is ready to draw it and use it.
“[That is the first step] for us to know what we’re going to see on hand, and be able to go back and have an idea of what we are going to need logistically, such as personnel, motor transport support, billeting for where we’re to be staying at and where the FASP is going to be located,” said Delgado.
Weeks prior to setting up the FASP, Delgado along with Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Kasmarski III, the FASP staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge, and Warrant Officer Branden Palmer, the FASP officer-in-charge, visited the site to coordinate all final logistical needs.
“The site survey allowed us to paint a picture for the command, and let them know how many flood lights we needed, how many cots, and how many vehicles because of how far everything is within the FASP,” said Delgado.
Once all logistic efforts were sorted out and the camp was set up, movement began.
The CLB-1, Ammunition Detachment, impressively accomplished the movement of more than 600 pallets of ammunition in only four days. The task that normally is completed by nearly 80 Marines was done by 25.
Convoys, formed by two Humvees; six Logistics Vehicles System Replacements MKR 18 and two Palletized Load System Trailers, traveled back and forth to transport the ammunition from the Central Magazine Area to the FASP.
“The effort was a combination of the ammunition Marines, the heavy vehicle operators and the motor transport operators that we had,” said Delgado. “They picked up the ammunition, accounted for it, dropped it off and then made their way back to pick up more.”
The thorough and careful planning of the Ammunition Detachment permitted the safe and successful completion of ammo movement.
“There were no injuries, we didn’t lose any ammunition, no safety mishaps, no vehicle breakdowns,” said Delgado. “The initial draw and pull of ammunition was one of the most successful ones that I’ve ever seen.”
The FASP services 12 units for the duration of ITX, and it’s currently manned by nearly 50 Marines and sailors, including ammunition technicians, medical and logistics personnel and security forces.
“The type of ammunition we store and the amount of it equals over $15 million, and that is where our security forces augment comes into play. The assets are guarded day and night, and our security forces Marines are an extremely important part of our FASP team,” added Delgado.
The fast and successful setup of the FASP and movement of ammo is directly attributed to the hard work of the ammo Marines, who exceeded all expectations, according to Palmer.
CLB-1 continues to work providing logistical support during ITX, while also counting on teams like the Ammunition Detachment to make live-firing events possible.