MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
With over 54,000 acres of ranges and training areas, Marine Corps Base (MCB) Quantico provides military, federal, state and local organizations a variety of extensive training opportunities. Behind the scenes, Marines work around the clock to sustain these operations and promote training and readiness. Ammunition technicians at Quantico’s Ammunition Supply Point (ASP), play a large part in these operations.
“Occasionally there will be a loud bang; maybe at your workplace [or home] where the windows will shake for a brief second, it will almost feel like an earthquake,” said U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Halston McIntyre, records chief, ammunition technician, ASP, MCB Quantico. “Those are 155mm artillery rounds that are being shot off and those are coming straight from the ASP.”
The ASP is the main ammunition supply and storage facility, providing ammunition to most units and government agencies across the base. Ammunition and other ordnance are stored at the ASP in Earth Covered Magazines, also called ECMs, which resemble large grassy hills rather than typical buildings. There are more than two dozen ECMs, each allotted a different net explosive weight, capable of holding a variety of explosives and ammunition.
“As an ammo tech, you will either go to an ASP or a using unit. At the ASP…you just manage the ammo in the warehouses, get it ready for shipment, and send it out to different units that need it. At a using unit, you’ll actually be coming to the ASP with a vehicle, picking up the ammo, taking it out to the range, and getting it ready to conduct field exercises,” said McIntyre.
As a records chief, McIntyre works in the ASP and is responsible for receiving ammunition, disposing of ammunition, processing requests, and making sure the accounts within the wire are as described. In this position, he no longer performs hands-on work with the ammunition in the ECMs, due to the conflict of interest.
“For the most part, we support every unit that’s here on Quantico [apart from the flight deck],” said McIntyre, “We have a lot of reserve units, most are active-duty, and a lot of three-letter agencies like FBI, NCIS, CID, secret service… they all come here, they all have their own ammo that we hold on to for them.”
While McIntyre hopes to eventually get a job in logistics as a civilian and one day open his own business, he enjoys the experiences and networking opportunities that being an ammunition technician has provided.
“The best thing about being an ammo tech is that we get to deal a lot with those three-letter agencies … because every once in a while, they’ll invite us to go take a tour of what they do, how their jobs correlate with ours, and to see how it works on the civilian side,” said McIntyre, “… and we get to shoot some pretty cool weapons.”
Finding out he could learn a valuable skill and get paid for it, McIntyre who is from the little town of Red Creek, in upstate New York, joined the Marine Corps to jumpstart his life in the right direction.
“I have been here almost 4 years,” he said. “I have zero debt, and I’ve saved up a lot of money. It’s been a great opportunity for me.”
His position, along with other Marines who work at the ASP contribute to the readiness of the Marine Corps, providing management, support, and safety of all explosives and ammunition to units across the base.
“Our mission is important because we are responsible for supporting all the training exercises and officers that are in training," said McIntyre, "They have to shoot “X” amount of rounds and experience various ranges that have different types of ammo. We are responsible for all of that, and it wouldn’t be possible without us."