In order to deter further Russian aggression in Europe and to support its NATO Allies and partners, it’s no secret the U.S. has deployed thousands of Soldiers to Europe and repositioned many more across the continent. Officially known as Quality Assurance Specialist (Ammunition Surveillance), about a dozen JMC QASAS personnel recently deployed to Europe from various Army depots and ammunition plants across the U.S. These ammunition experts now fall under the command and control of the 405th Army Field Support Brigade. Providing precision-grade munitions to outfit these Soldiers is a critical component to current operations in Europe – one that the U.S. Army Joint Munitions Command’s ammunitions experts deployed here don’t take lightly.
Paul Leykamm is one of the QASAS personnel deployed to Poland. Leykamm, who has 17 years of experience as a QASAS and is home stationed at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, has been on ground in Zagan, Poland, providing Class 5 ammunition and explosives technical assistance to deployed and rotational units there for the past two months. He and a small QASAS team are supporting elements from the XVIII Airborne Corps, V Corps, 10th Army Air and Missile Defense Command, 41st Field Artillery Brigade and more.“We help them with everything – from posture, security, safety, storage and serviceability to how to handle it, how to move it and how to treat it appropriately,” Leykamm said.
Additionally, several more QASAS personnel are deployed to Germany supporting ammunition operations at the Ammunition Center Europe in Miesau as well as operations in Ansbach and Wiesbaden. Aaron Thornton, who also has 17 years as a QASAS, is one of them. Thornton is a supervisor at the ACE. Home stationed at Tooele Army Depot, Utah, he arrived to Germany about a month ago. His job is to manage a team at Miesau where all ammunition and explosives that transit to and from the ACE are thoroughly inspected, including missiles. “We have ammunition arriving at Miesau all the time – by train and by truck. We are inspecting for any damage caused during transit, for example packaging damage, moisture or mold,” Thornton said.
Positioned at multiple locations in Germany – to include the Ammunition Center Europe in Miesau Army Depot – as well as forward locations like Poland, these QASAS personnel are responsible for providing expert technical ammunition and explosives assistance and support to units stationed in or deployed to Europe. Everything from Patriots, Javelins, Hellfire and TOW missiles to 105 and 155 mm artillery cannon rounds, plus 40 mm grenades, 30 mm autocannon machine gun rounds, crew served machine gun ammunition, small caliber rifle ammunition, and more – the JMC QASAS ammunition experts assist units with it all.