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Making sure Soldiers have ammo – it’s a vital part of the mission

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - American Soldiers in the field couldn't do their job without the Army Materiel Command. The truth of the statement that AMC provides everything Soldiers use is why the workers at Redstone Arsenal's AMC headquarters are always busy. One of the most basic items soldiers must have is ammunition for their weapons.

"So, if Soldiers are deployed down range to do whatever our nation asks them to do, they make sure they have the right ammunition, on time, and at the right place to do whatever they need to do. Lives actually depend on that," says Col. Sean Herron, the commander of McAlester Army Ammunition Plant.

The Army actually manufactures most of the ammunition it uses. McAlester is one of the largest facilities for making many of the hundreds of varieties of bullets, shells and warheads used by soldiers. McAlester makes it, stores it, and ships it. "Think of it as an Amazon Fulfillment Center for things that go bang. So when soldiers order ammo anywhere in the world, the order comes to us, we fill the order, and we get it to them as quickly and fast as we can," says Col. Herron.

That ammunition shipment could be bullets for rifles and pistols, or it could be something larger. It could be ammunition still in the inventory from the Vietnam era. Col. Herron says the renovation and rebuilding of items like 105-millimeter howitzer rounds is something that's done nearly every day at McAlester. The rounds are taken apart, the materials that need it are replaced, and then the round is re-assembled. Doing that saves the Army hundreds of dollars an item. "Every chance we get, if we can recycle a part, a piece of any aspect of that ammo and reuse it, it's good business sense to do that," says Col. Herron.

McAlester is just one facility that ultimately answers to AMC Headquarters at Redstone. That's interesting historically, because the Arsenal got its start in 1941 as an ammunition manufacturing facility.