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NEWS | Nov. 4, 2022

AG recognizes Fort Pickett ASP staff for operations improvements

By Mike Vrabel | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office

Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, visited with and commended Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Ammunition Supply Point at Maneuver Training Center Fort Pickett, Virginia, during a visit to the facility Oct. 20, 2022. 

Williams presented special challenge coins to the ASP’s staff after recent significant improvements to the ASP’s operations and a positive recent inspection. Col. Dennis Rohler, the Virginia Army National Guard G4 logistics officer, also thanked the staff for their hard work during the visit, which included a tour of the facility. 

“The Soldiers and civilian employees of the ASP should take tremendous pride in the work they’ve put into becoming a well-oiled, efficient operation,” said Williams. “The improvements they’ve made, evidenced by recent positive inspection results, are a direct result of their training, diligence and attention to detail. I commend the entire team as they continue to serve the Virginia Army National Guard and all the other customers training at Fort Pickett.”

Rohler pointed out how hard the team works to maintain a safe and professional approach dealing with customers not just from the Virginia National Guard, but all services training at MTC. 

“When we talk about a positive culture and high standards, we can call it customer service or whatever you want to call it, but this team down here makes sure that when customers come in, they’re held to the exact standard. There’s no deviation from safety down here whatsoever,” said Rohler. “But, they’re also treated very well.”

Recent inspections showed a marked improvement in operations at the ASP, according to Chief Warrant Officer 3 Nick Seymour, explosives safety officer at the ASP. 

“Outside inspections from higher headquarters show a direct improvement to all aspects of the ammunition management at the ASP,” said Seymour. “Some examples are zero past due ammunition inspections and 100% trained and qualified staff. We also passed Army Audit Readiness standards and had a minimum amount of excess and unserviceable stocks on hand.”

In years past, Seymour said similar inspections have not gone as well, owing to a shortage in trained and qualified staff, something the facility has taken great strides in rectifying, resulting in a direct impact to the readiness of units training at MTC Fort Pickett. 

“All full-time personnel are 100% trained, qualified, and certified to work in all areas within the ASP operations. Due to previous manning shortages and lack of trained personnel, the ASP had many past due inspections on ammunition,” explained Seymour. “When ammunition is past due for inspection it cannot be issued to requesting units which lowers the overall readiness of the Virginia Army National Guard. By putting time, effort, and appropriate training into the personnel and the readiness of the ammunition stocks the ASP has zero past due items.”

Rohler added that the partnership between different aspects of the Virginia Army National Guard’s organization also helps the ASP operation. 

“The relationship we have with MTC, the USPFO and G4, this triad working together, keeps a whole lot of focus down here. It’s been very good,” said Rohler.

The results of the hard work of the ASP team come further into focus considering the challenges of managing millions of dollars worth of ammunition stored across 21 magazines at one of the busiest training sites on the east coast. Their efforts break down into three key components, according to Seymour. 

“Like many large logistical operations, the ASP operations are much more complex than one would assume,” said Seymour. “The ASP has three main operating areas. Stock control manages the accountable systems of record, coordinates with incoming and outgoing units, and ensures all accountable documentation is completed and received. Operations is the ammunition handlers that are trained to operate in explosives areas with MHE. They issue, receive, and store all ammunition inside the ASP. Surveillance is the section that is tasked with ensuring all ammunition and explosives that are issued are safe for use with the soldiers that are receiving the ammunition. They inspect, certify, and check all systems of record to ensure there are no worldwide ammunition notices that would affect that item.”

Making sure all three phases of the operation run smoothly is a tremendous challenge, Seymour said, one that his team takes great pride in meeting head on. 

“The ASP is focused on continuing to provide safe, effective, and on time ammunition logistical support to the end users, which is the Soldiers,” Seymour said. “The ASP’s focus is always on ensuring the Soldiers receive safe, accurate, and functioning ammunition. While doing this we also must focus on the ASP staff being supported, trained, and equipped appropriately. The priorities have always been and will continue to be, safety, accountability, accountability, and accountability!”

Seymour added it’s not hard to figure out why the team has made such large strides in all phases of their operation. 

“The secret to success of this operation isn’t a secret. We have the right people in the right positions with a clear vision and goal,” he said. “We treat our employees like team member, family, and we apply discipline and consistency in all we do. Continue to invest into the people and they will invest into you. You can either light a fire underneath people or you can light a fire within them, but the latter is much more effective.”

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