Making Sure Bombs And Bullets Are Good To Go

Monday, March 31st 2008, 7:53 pm
By: News On 6

Many of the bombs and bullets used in the war effort pass through McAlester, Oklahoma.  And, The News On 6's Emory Bryan reports there's an entire team of people there to make sure all that ammunition is ready to use when it makes it to the battlefield.

There is a specialized group works at the Defense Ammunition Center.  They are the people who make sure ammo is correctly packaged and safely shipped out.

The job of the Defense Ammunition Center is to make sure that everything from bullets to bombs get to the battlefield ready to use.

"We support ammunition logistics and make it better," said Larry Nortunen of the Defense Ammunition Center.

Logistics means packing it up and making sure it isn't damaged in shipping.  A machine is used to provide one of the ultimate tests.  The DAC, as it's called, built the $1 million ship movement simulator.

The machine can lift a shipping container loaded with 25 tons of ammunition, and check the packing job to make sure the ammo isn't damaged on the trip overseas.  Most ammunition is delivered by ships, so it's an important test. 

There is also a portable workshop that was the idea of returning soldiers who wanted a better way to handle ammunition in the desert.

The workshop gives soldiers a clean room for working with ammunition, and it's all in hardened shipping containers that are ready to move.

And, a sorting machine is already saving money for the Army and time for the soldiers.

"By doing this we can sort our live ammunition within our spent ammunition," said the center's Bruce Ramm.

The Army wanted a machine to sort out mixed lots of ammunition that soldiers turn in at the end of each day's fighting.

"Typically a bunch would gather around a big table, sorting the ammunition by size and inspecting it," said Larry Nortunen of the Defense Ammunition Center.

The machine can sort out 50,000 rounds in 8 hours and allow the Army to reuse bullets that were often otherwise destroyed.

The equipment to handle ammunition and ship it is all designed and tested down in McAlester.  From there, the equipment goes all over, of course, right now mainly to Iraq & Afghanistan.

Find more stories on's Local News page.