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Petty Officer 2nd Class Lakeya Cunningham connects a crane to a trailer as part of the first TURBO CADS exercise completed at Naval Station Rota.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Lakeya Cunningham connects a crane to a trailer as part of the first TURBO CADS exercise completed at Naval Station Rota. (Glen Dennis / U.S. Navy)

Naval Station Rota, Spain, recently finished its part of an annual worldwide, multiservice ammunition moving and tracking exercise called Turbo CADS.

Under the CADS, or containerized ammunition distribution system, the ammunition is moved in standard 20-foot shipping containers by air or sea.

The exercise started in April and runs through June, according to Lt. Major Gooden, Rota’s weapons officer.

This method of containerizing ammunition was a first for Rota and all of Gooden’s sailors, he said.

The other services use CADS to move ammunition, but the Navy normally doesn’t.

“On a warship, ammunition goes in magazines,” he said.

Shipboard ammunition needs to be easily accessible for use in guns or on aircraft, and containerizing it makes it easier to ship but harder to access.

The exercise allowed Rota’s personnel to learn this new shipping system, Gooden said.

Packaging the ammunition in the containers isn’t as easy as it would seem, said Petty Officer 1st Class Darin Hall, one of the two sailors who received training at Ramstein Air Base.

“It’s a long process, very complex,” he said. “It doesn’t sound like it, but once you get involved in it, there’s a lot of logistics involved.”

About 30 sailors from Rota’s weapons department took part in the packaging, moving and shipping of 93 ammunition containers by sea. Other Rota sailors from various departments helped in the movement and shipment of the containerized ammunition.

In addition to Rota’s ammunition, base personnel also worked to move an additional 116 containers of ammunition from nearby Morón Air Base.

They then spent three days loading all the ammunition onto a cargo ship, which will return to the United States before the completion of the exercise in June.

Working with this new ammunition shipping method, Gooden said, will only benefit the Navy in its interaction with the other services. Rota has Air Force and Marine Corps units permanently assigned to the base and serves as a transit point for Marine units transiting through the Mediterranean.

A number of military bases in Europe other than Morón and Rota also took part in this year’s exercise, including RAF Lakenheath, Ramstein, Spangdahlem Air Base, Camp Darby and Aviano Air Base.

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