DVIDS – News – Security with the Army Ammunition Monitoring Program at Tooele Army Depot

TOOELE ARMY DEPOT, Utah — Beneath the snow-capped mountains of Stansbury, four US Army civilians tread cautiously across barren, rock-strewn ground, little wisps of dust swirling around their feet. They stop near a crater of black stone, the dust melting in the cold desert breeze, and carefully place a fifteen-pound shaped charge in the hole. With precise meticulousness, they prepare a detonator with electrical wiring while one of the group members carefully observes the weather conditions. Moments later, all are standing behind bulletproof glass and reinforced concrete inside an observation building a hundred yards away.

After a final check of the equipment, the team leader counts down. “Three…two…one…” and hit a button. The form charge instantly disappears in a flash of flame and smoke and in the blink of an eye chunks of rock and dirt are lifted into the air with smoke rising upwards. The shock wave permeates the surrounding earth while simultaneously reverberating throughout the building. Tiny chunks of stone and dirt rained down on the surroundings, eerily reminiscent of a brief summer downpour. The group is safely protected inside the building, but nicks and cuts in the safety glass testify to the unpredictable violence and the capacity of munitions created for use by the United States military. After another security check with range control and the four army civilians began preparing to repeat the same task.

At Tooele Army Depot (TEAD), the base surveillance team is hard at work, ensuring the right conditions are in place for small-scale detonations of previously stored munitions. At first glance, the idea of ​​“surveillance” evokes the image of traditional intelligence work, gathering information and indicators to deduce the intentions and courses of action on a potential enemy. But in the field of US Army munitions, surveillance is safety, safeguarding the quality and capacity of munitions, confirming that the military has the munitions necessary to carry out their mission. Monitoring is also about maintaining the right environment and security of weapons storage, preserving the quality and capacity of ammunition for future use.

“We are the eyes and ears of the commander on the depot, ensuring that crating or packing is in accordance with standard operating procedures,” said Mike Belmares, TEAD’s Chief Monitoring Officer and Warehousing Specialist. quality assurance. “We monitor the climate and atmosphere for storage to safeguard and protect the stability of munitions. The purpose of each control and procedure is not just to follow safety regulations and standards, but to protect human health and the environment, including the proper handling and destruction of ammunition and explosives.

Belmares further explained that the TEAD monitoring team regularly observes and inspects the creation and packaging of explosive materials, by depot employees, to ensure that all safety protocols are strictly enforced; they ensure that materiel in stock meets all fitness for service and explosives safety criteria, identifying items for timely maintenance, demilitarization as well as priority of issue and use restraint. This detailed focus on safety and adherence to all established regulations not only safeguards the safety of TEAD’s ammunition handlers, ammunition stockpiles, and the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who will use the ammunition in the future.

“TEAD is committed to testing this munitions,” Belmares said, “and destroying them if necessary, in a manner that not only minimizes risk to workers, but also to the surrounding community and natural environment.” .

The TEAD Surveillance Team tests every type of ammunition available to the US military, from bullets and grenades to tank shells and large explosives. In TEAD’s on-site surveillance test area, the surveillance team examines munitions for viability in extreme cold, down to minus sixty-five degrees below zero, or intense heat, such as one hundred and twenty degrees Fahrenheit. These severe and harsh environmental tests certify that munitions created for United States military personnel will perform as intended on the battlefield.

About TOOELE ARMY DEPOT: The Tooele Army Depot was established in 1942 as Tooele Ordnance Depot, and for 79 years it has been committed to being ready and quickly responding to ordnance for Allies and warfighters alike. America. Tooele Army Depot provides storage, maintenance and logistics capabilities under the Joint Army Munitions Command (JMC). The Depot specializes in providing design, development, manufacturing and commissioning services for prototype ammunition equipment. The depot also develops innovative Special Ammunition Equipment (APE) used for demilitarization, as well as refurbishment, modification, modernization and maintenance of conventional type ammunition.

Date taken: 04.04.2022
Date posted: 04.04.2022 11:57
Story ID: 417778

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Ryan H. Bowman