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Ordnance Soldiers compete for titles as best ammunition handlers

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FORT LEE, Va. (Oct. 4, 2018) -- Holding true to its higher headquarters’ special designation, a First Team entry earned first place in the 2018 Ammunition Transfer Holding Point Team of the Year competition Sept. 24-Friday at Fort Pickett.

The 1st Cavalry Division unit – the 664th Ordnance Company of Fort Hood, Texas – beat out three other teams in the annual event pitting the Army’s best ammunition handlers in a competition designed to challenge their wits and competencies in a field environment.

“This was a great event,” said 1st Sgt. Dameion Jones, first sergeant, Alpha Co., 832nd Ord. Bn., and one of the event facilitators. “It provided up a snapshot of where we need to go in the future to create more relevant and realistic training at the schoolhouse to better prepare Soldiers for deployment.”

Members of the 1st Cav. Div. team were Chief Warrant Officer 3 Vernon Wise, Staff Sgt. Harmer Prince, Sgt. Joshua Smith, Spc. Darrik Bell and Pfc. Edrick Hernandez.

In addition to the 664th Ord. Co, an element of the 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 1st Cav. Div. Sustainment Bde., the event included entries from Alpha Co., 3rd Group Spt. Bn., 3rd Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, N.C.; 8th Ord. Co., 246th CSSB, 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg; and the 23rd Ord. Co., 18th CSSB, 16th Sustainment Bde., Tower Barracks, Germany.

The teams, which included 89B ammunition specialists and 89A ammunition stock control and accounting specialist, were required to complete several events over three days to include Army Physical Fitness Test; road march; aircraft loading operations; ammunition identification and occupy and defend an ammunition storage area. 

Jones, who oversaw the defend and occupy event Sept. 25, said it was the most challenging for participants. 

“It was very physical,” said Jones, an ammunition specialist with a varied amount of experience in the ammunition management career field. “It required Soldiers to move the munitions (ammunition cans filled with water weighing roughly 20 pounds each) from one area to another. The participants were under duress because they knew they would come under simulated attack while they worked to segregate, store and maintain the munitions.”

Pfc. Dyllan Viquelia, a member of the 3rd SFG team, said the occupy and defend event was an eye-opener.

“It was very realistic,” said the Soldier, who has been in the Army roughly 18 months. “It was very hot outside, it’s definitely not something I do on a daily basis, but I’m really happy I got the opportunity to come out here and do this. I’ve definitely learned a lot.”

Although the amount of participation was lower compared to past years, Jones said the event has many merits and does not require much change.

“Overall, I think it was a good competition and don’t think there are many improvements it needs,” he said. “It think, however, more people should be involved and the event should be expanded. This is a very good competition and gives us a very good picture of where we are.”  

The ATHP was the second leg of this year’s Ordnance Crucible, a series of events “designed to assess Soldiers’ teamwork and critical thinking skills as they apply technical solutions to real world problem,” according to the website. The EOD ToY competition took place at Fort A.P. Hill in June, but the Combat Repair Team ToY was cancelled this year and is scheduled for April 2019.