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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — The Navy is monitoring ammunition more closely after two sailors were accused of dumping excess bullets into Sasebo’s nearshore waters, base officials said.

New shooting range regulations require all ammunition — including unspent shells — to be counted by two people before and after weapons practice, base spokesman Charles Howard said Monday.

The changes were made following a procedural review in December.

The two sailors, both attached to the Sasebo Naval Base security force, face possible punishment for allegedly dumping more than 3,000 rounds of ammunition in separate areas around the U.S. Navy facility in October, the Navy said.

They were supposed to use the bullets during weapons training at the range.

A first class petty officer who oversees ammunition on the base faces a special court martial March 9 for dereliction of duty charges, Howard said.

A second class petty officer will be sent to an administrative hearing after he admitted dumping 3,000 rounds of shotgun shells and 335 rounds of 5.56 mm ammunition for M-16 rifles in three places, he said.

The Navy has not released the name of either sailor.

Base officials said the second class petty officer disposed of the bags early in the morning at Hario-shima, the Maebata ordnance facility and the Akasaki fuel pier, which are spread wide across the base.

The ammo was meant for scheduled firing practice in late October and the unused rounds should have been logged back into the armory on Sasebo main base, according to base officials.

In the past, unspent ordnance was not monitored and one person was in charge of checking out ammunition used at the shooting range, Howard said.

The Navy reviewed its policy following the incident, which caused some concern among the Japanese local government, and changed its operations by January.

"The procedure is for a two-person count at the armory upon checking ordnance out and a two-person count upon returning expended shell casings or unexpended ordnance back to the armory," Howard wrote in an e-mail response to Stars and Stripes.


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