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Face of Defense: Marine Armorers Stick to Their Guns

By Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Heather N. Johnson
Marine Corps Bases Japan

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa, Nov. 18, 2011 – 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.

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