View Full Version : Marines blast away Northern Edge '04

07-11-04, 07:19 AM
Marines blast away Northern Edge '04
Submitted by: MCAS Iwakuni
Story Identification #: 20047904952
Story by Lance Cpl. Lydia Davey

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan(July 9, 2004) -- What do bombing ranges and the enemy have in common? If they're targeted by Marine All-Weather Fighter Attack Squadron 225, they can both thank the ordnance Marines of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 11.

A recent deployment to Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, for the joint-service Exercise Northern Edge '04, provided a blast of adventure for the shop.

During the exercise, the Marines built several different types of weapons, said Lance Cpl. Ashley Dillon, aviation ordnance technician.

"We put together 500 and 1,000-pound inert bombs, and 500-pound active bombs," said Dillon.

A typical day for the ordnance men and women consisted of receiving the day's ordnance work order, gathering the appropriate material and building the bombs in a shed several miles off base.

"During Desert Storm, we would produce up to 1,000 bombs a day," said Staff Sgt. Thomas Ramey, MALS-11 ordnance supervisor. "Here in Alaska, the pace is slower."

After building the bombs, the Marines transport them to VMFA(AW)-225's awaiting aircraft. But for the ordnance technicians, the day isn't nearly done.

"We wait until the aircraft return, and if they have any ordnance left over, we inventory it. We know where every weapon is," stated Dillon. "After the inventory, we'll either break (the ordnance) down or store it for upcoming missions."

Long hours are only part of the job's challenge, said Lance Cpl. Cody Williams, ordnance technician.

"The toughest part of the job is the physical work," said Williams. "In ordnance, you're always moving or lifting heavy stuff."

Because of the nature of the work, safety plays a key role in daily activities, he added.

"The thing I enjoy most about the job is the camaraderie. Our job can be dangerous, so we're always looking out for each other and watching one another's back," said Williams.

Camaraderie comes in handy during deployments, noted Ramey.

"It's tough for Marines to be away from their families for long periods at a time," said Ramey. "So our shop works like one big happy family."

Northern Edge is a exercise designed to enhance interoperability among the services by sharpening and honing joint-service techniques and procedures. It helps provide a ready force capable of protecting America's interests at home and abroad.


Cpl. Adam Klein, MALS-11 aviation ordnance technician, straps down a load of bombs at the build-site in Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, during Northern Edge 04. Photo by: Lance Cpl. Lydia Davey