Repair, replace, modify combat weapons on post

By Pfc. Abel Trevino
28th Public Affairs Detachment

LSA ANACONDA, Balad, Iraq — The Small Arms Support Center on LSA Anaconda has only been open for a few weeks, and already the three person team has helped Soldiers across Iraq repair a variety of weapons, from M-9 pistols to M-2, .50 caliber machine guns and everything in between.

The shop primarily deals with distribution of parts for unit armorers to repair weapons, but will repair and modify weapons on site if requested. Prime examples of in-house repairing and modifying are the modifications done to Mark-19 automatic grenade launchers.

Modifications to the Mark-19 include drilling, replacing worn parts, and installing a modification kit are usually completed in as little as one hour, said Vicki Rasmussen, logistical management specialist.

The modification to the Mark-19 is a great improvement on the overall quality of the weapon.

"[The modification kit] makes it a much safer gun, but a much more reliable gun as well," said Douglas Carlstrom, equipment specialist for the SASC. "It's a safe gun to begin with, but that new two-piece cocking lever prevents that out-of-battery firing."

Out-of-battery firing occurs when a grenade shell causes the cocking lever to trigger prematurely. The correction for this is made by replacing the single piece cocking mechanism with a two piece cocking lever, which allows for the grenade to travel farther before initiating the firing pin.

The facility has been busy replacing and repairing parts since it's inception at LSA Anaconda.

"In the [short time] we've been open, we've replaced 119 weapons and issued 412 repair parts," Rasmussen said. "We have a full array of small arms parts. We don't do any repairs unless the [direct support] shop requests us to."

The shop offers services that are not limited to post.

"People come from all over," said Rasmussen. "People come in from Baghdad, Mosul; we had a big group come in from [FOB] Remagen."

The services offered are available to unit armorers, as long as they can get to the shop.

"Usually it's the armorer who contacts us. They usually send us an e-mail to make sure we have the parts or the weapons they need before they get in a convoy up here," said Rasmussen. "We don't want to put them on the road without us having what they need."

Most of the requests are for parts to fix weapons systems, although armorers do ask for other assistance.

"Some [armorers] come in and use our tools, some have asked for help. If they don't know how to do something we'll help them," Rasmussen said.

There are two commonly repaired weapons at the SASC.

"The M-2 has actually been rivaling the M-16 for weapons brought in," said Rasmussen.

Future goals of the SASC facility include moving the Army Materiel Command vehicle armoring facility nearby, to create a one-stop area where units and Soldiers coming in from convoys can get their vehicles armored and replace or repair damaged weapons.

Editors Note: Pfc. Trevino is assigned to the 28th Public Affairs Detachment from Fort Lewis, Wash. He is currently deployed to Iraq in support of the 13th Corps Support Command at LSA Anaconda.


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