Face of Defense: Marine Armorers Stick to Their Guns

CAMP FOSTER, Oki­nawa — Every Marine is a rifle­man, so where would they be if their weapons did not func­tion?

Armor­ers assigned to Marine Wing Sup­port Squadron 172, Marine Wing Sup­port Group 17, 1st Marine Air­craft Wing, III Marine Expe­di­tionary Force, work hard to ensure each weapon is account­ed for and work­ing prop­er­ly.

“A nor­mal day for an armor­er begins at two in the morn­ing,” said Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Michael D. Brown, a small-arms repair tech­ni­cian with MWSS-172. “We come in and get account­abil­i­ty of every piece of gear that we are respon­si­ble for.”

Marines like Brown who work at the con­sol­i­dat­ed armory here main­tain and ensure account­abil­i­ty of thou­sands of weapons used for train­ing by Com­bat Logis­tics Bat­tal­ion 3 and 4, and oth­ers.

Aside from account­ing for all of the firearms, Brown said, the armor­ers also have to inspect each weapon.

“Dur­ing a deploy­ment, Marines rely on their weapons to keep them safe from the ene­my,” he said. “If they pull the trig­ger and no round [is fired], not only is their life in dan­ger, but so is the life of the Marines to their left and right.”

The armory has always played a vital role in Marine Corps oper­a­tions, said Marine Corps Sgt. Todd Kovach, the armory’s non­com­mis­sioned offi­cer-in-charge with MWSS-172.

“This job is one of the most impor­tant in the Marine Corps,” Kovach said. “We are the keep­ers of the sword. With­out us, the Marines can’t fight in the bat­tles that are going on today.”

Kovach and Brown said they enjoy work­ing at the armory.

“I enjoy my job a lot,” Kovach said. “I am an ama­teur gun col­lec­tor, and I do my own gun­smith work. I enjoy the feel­ing know­ing that I am pro­vid­ing qual­i­ty weapons to Marines.”

Brown feels his job is impor­tant and nec­es­sary for unit readi­ness.

“It keeps me moti­vat­ed to do the best I can,” he said.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)