Parris Island, S.C. --
Beans, bullets and bandages. These three things form the foundation of Service Company, and Marines at the Ammunition Supply Point are the ones in charge of supplying the fun stuff — bullets.
Ammunition technicians work at the ASP, a 133-acre area of Page Field, assuring all the Depot’s ammunition is accounted for, safely secured and properly delivered.
“I really enjoy my job,” said CWO2 David Hostuttler, the officer-in-charge of the ASP. “You can’t beat it. It’s a wonderful job.”
The ammo techs begin their day at 4 a.m. and work through the late evening, only relieved of work when the Depot is done taking and returning ammunition.
“We come in early and leave late to make sure the magazines that hold the ammunition are in working order and to make sure all ammo is delivered on time,” said Lance Cpl. Matt Buckalew, an ammunition technician at the ASP.
ASP hosts 10 buildings, called magazines, which serve as holding cells for all forms of ammunition and explosives, ranging from 5.56 mm rounds for rifles to 40 mm rounds for the salute battery cannons. The magazines are secured behind the ASP fence, away from the eyes of the public. To get to the magazines, there are many forms of strictly-enforced security, such as locked gates, locked doors and security codes.
Inside the magazines, millions of individual rounds are stacked high to the ceilings, laying out into rows upon rows of boxes.
To order ammunition, the battalion requesting it must submit a computerized request form. The request must include how much ammunition will be needed and at what time.
To assure nobody attempts to break into the ASP, and all of Page Field and the ranges are safe, a Marine is always on a 24-hour duty post.
“We have a 24-hour duty that stays here,” said Cpl. Alexander Long, an ammunition technician. “If there are any problems at Page Field or the ranges, we’re here to take care of it.”
Being responsible for the accountability of the Depot’s ammunition and safe security of its explosives can get to be a little stressful.
“Every round is accounted for,” said Long, from Port Royal, Va. “All of Weapons and Field Training Battalion is riding on our shoulders. If they didn’t have ammunition, they wouldn’t exist.”
To help work through the stress, Marines help one another and work together, building camaraderie.
“Out here, we have to have good attention to detail. We assure the ammunition’s safety, security and accountability,” said Hostuttler, from Harlan County, Ky. “I really think we’re closer than a lot of other shops. For one, we’re a very small shop and for two, we spend a lot of time together.
“We’ve got some really good Marines here and they realize they can’t do things on their own. They support each other,” he said. “They all want to be the best and strive to do so.”
Aside from getting along with one another, the Depot mascot, Lance Cpl. Hummer, also works at the ASP as a morale booster.
“I really like being with Hummer all day,” said Buckalew, from Hilliard, Ohio. “Though, you can’t use any noisy objects around him or else he freaks out and starts running around.”
With the fierce bond between the Marines at the ASP, they work together and use their noncommissioned officers to constantly surpass their OIC’s expectations for Marines of their rank.
“My noncommissioned officers…do a lot more than Marines of their grade would do at other ASP’s,” Hostuttler said. “Everything that is done out here is because of my Marines, and I’m really proud of them.”