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CAMP TAJI, Iraq — The 24th Ordnance Company, an outfit that falls under the 87th Corps Support Battalion, Division Support Brigade, has established a new ammunition holding area for the 3rd Infantry Division’s Task Force Baghdad.

It’s a far different mission than the company had two years ago, when it accompanied three platoons on the march into Baghdad, supplying them with ammunition every step of the way.

During that first stage of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the unit’s soldiers were constantly moving to keep a fresh supply of ammunition on the front lines, said Maj. John Hopson of Richmond Hill, Ga., the 87th Corps Support Battalion’s executive officer.

“Last time, we were shooting to kill every time,” he said. “This time, stability is the goal and assisting the Iraqi government to get their feet up under them.”

The new holding area primarily deals with small-arms and aviation ammo in low quantities and acts as a distribution point, said Capt. Jade Miller, 28, of Hoffman Estates, Ill., the company commander. Rifles, 9 mm handguns, M16s and small grenades are part of the inventory.

“Ammo comes in here and we shuffle it out,” he said. “We’re more of a transition point. There are no large amounts. Individual units sign for the ammo and take it with them.”

The pace is much slower today — and certainly less stressful, said Staff Sgt. Christopher Essex, 30, of Hot Springs, Va., noncommissioned officer in charge of the ammunition holding area.

“Our main mission now is to organize combat configure loads,” he said, adding that ammo packages are put together to meet the specific needs of a unit, whether it be an infantry detachment or maintenance battalion. “The ammunition is not meant to stay here long. And we have a lot less ammo than last time.”

The company deals directly with the 3rd ID’s ammunition office, he added, which controls the flow of arms around the Army’s operational area in Baghdad.

An element of the 24th Ordnance Company is based in Kuwait, where it supplies larger types of ammo to the entire Central Command, feeding units in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

At Taji, the holding area is sectioned off by dividers that keep small-arms and other ordnance separated. That way, officials can avoid a really big bang, in the event something gets ignited accidentally.


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