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Marines Bring Ammo Professionals Out to the Range

The Marine Corps is seeking feedback on its artillery rounds to look for areas where they can improve their dominance on the battlefield.

Ammunition professionals with Marine Corps Systems Command's Ammunition Program Management Office recently went out to the range at Quantico, Virginia to participate in a live-fire field artillery demonstration  of an M777 155mm howitzer and improve their comprehensive understanding of ground operations, officials with Systems Command announced this month.

“The trip to [the Training and Education Command range] was unique for our employees because most testing for ammunition is done in very controlled environments by a select audience,” Lt. Col. Bill Lanham, deputy program manager for program manager ammunition, said in a statement. “This was a great opportunity for employees who more times than not are looking at drawings and talking with engineers, but not actually seeing the products in use. It also allowed for an open dialogue with Marines about how we can improve the technology they use.”

PM Ammo buys and fields 155mm howitzer rounds, officials said. The demonstration was designed to allow engineers and officials in the program to understand the rounds better and help them make better future purchasing decisions.

"It is our job to make sure we are buying and delivering items that fit the necessary requirements so the ammunition works the first time, every time,” Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael Reynolds, project officer for artillery and fuzes for PM Ammo, said in a statement. “It is important that we continually understand the Marine’s requirement outside of our individual tasks so that we put out a quality product that is reliable, safe and as lethal as it is designed to be. Sometimes we have to open our aperture to look at the big picture of what our work does.”

The field day was part of the Marines' full-court press effort to improve the gear and weapons used by Marine Corps infantrymen. In September, Marine Corps Systems Command hosted an "Infantry Equipping Challenge"--an industry day in which they invited professionals to come up with creative ways to improve the Marine grunt's combat load, from moisture-wicking underwear to better-fitting body armor.

Marine Corps ammunition professionals have also talked about finding creative ways to make Marines lighter, even suggesting they might ditch or redesign the classic ammo can to cut weight.

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