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 February 12, 2010

MOBILIZATION

IMMA inspects, repairs weapons for troops

Story & Photo by Tom Michele, Eagle Systems & Services

Thousands of weapons are brought for inspection and repair into Fort McCoy’s Installation Materiel Maintenance Activity (IMMA) annually.

The weapons go through a very important journey at IMMA and provide mobilizing Soldiers with fully mission-capable weapons for deployment, according to IMMA Project Manager Burt Reehling.

PHOTO: Brian Smith inserts a bolt into the receiver of an M-249 light machine gun that he has disassembled on his workbench at Fort McCoy’s Installation Materiel Maintenance Activity (IMMA). Smith is one of four gunsmiths in IMMA’s Small Arms Maintenance Section.
Brian Smith inserts a bolt into the receiver of an M-249 light machine gun that he has disassembled on his workbench at Fort McCoy’s Installation Materiel Maintenance Activity (IMMA). Smith is one of four gunsmiths in IMMA’s Small Arms Maintenance Section.

The weapons help Soldiers survive on the battlefield and to be operational and ready, added IMMA Small Arms Weapons Repair Supervisor Charles Hottinger.

Reehling said more than 5,600 weapons came through IMMA in Fiscal Year 2009 for mobilization-demobilization inspection-repair. Ninety-five percent of the Small Arms Repair Section work is for mob-demob.

Reehling explained when weapons are brought to IMMA for technical inspections the Small Arms Section ensures the weapon is configured with the correct parts, as most systems have different set ups, such as different sights, or operating mechanisms. The IMMA crew ensures weapons operate properly. Then maintenance and repair is performed as necessary.

“We inspect 100 percent of crew-served weapons that mobilization units have,” Reehling said. That includes the M-240 and M-2 weapons. “We try to get the weapons in here before units go out on the ranges and get those weapons back to them within five days.”

Dale Anhalt, Brian Smith, Terry Voeller and Andrew Yohnk are the team of gunsmiths at IMMA who are “very dedicated to providing Soldiers with fully mission-capable equipment,” Reehling said.

Smith said the quartet also provides training for unit armorers and is on-site at the live-fire ranges to perform repair of malfunctioning weapons. “We take along a tool box and parts that may be needed to replace worn or broken items.”

While most of the weapons that come through IMMA for repair and maintenance are the M-16/M-4, the crew also deals with significant quantities of M-249 squad automatic weapon light machine guns, M-240 medium machine guns, M-203 grenade launchers, MK-19 grenade machine guns, M-9 pistols and M-2 heavy machine guns, Smith said.

Smith described the work of the section as, “the best arms room in the world. We treat these firearms as if we owned them personally.”

“We very exactly and strictly follow the Army standard for weapons maintenance to ensure the weapons are fully mission capable when they leave this room,” Smith said. “We emphasize to the Soldiers to use the Army’s ‘10 Manual’ pocket operations manual for Preventative Maintenance Checks and Services to include cleaning, maintenance and operations.”

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