JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. --
Whether it’s standing guard at the base’s entrances, surveying the flightline or patrolling the roads, JBA’s defenders rely on the 11th Security Support Squadron armory for their firearms and equipment to aid their mission of protecting America’s airfield.
Every day, the armory serves National Capital Region customers, including members of the 11th Security Forces Group, augmentees and private gun owners.
“Our primary mission is to equip security forces Airmen with necessary weapons and ammunition so they are able to effectively protect and defend the base at all times,” said Tech Sgt. Derrick Terrell, 11th SSPTS armory NCO in charge.
In addition to storing M4 carbines, M9 pistols, M249 light machine guns, and weapons for transient personnel, the armory also stores radios, pepper spray, tactical expandable batons and other items.
The armory relies on preventative maintenance practices to ensure operations run smoothly.
“Every day, our team conducts an inventory of all weapons, radios and associated equipment in the armory before anything is issued out,” said Senior Airman Chance Dority, 11th SSPTS armorer. “Taking preventative steps means that defenders in the field don’t have to deal with their pepper spray malfunctioning or their tasers not firing. They can simply focus on what’s in front of them and make the best decision they possibly can.”
The process of issuing equipment is not as simple as someone coming up to our window and asking for a weapon. Terrell noted security forces armorers are responsible for verifying each Airman’s qualification status before issuing any weapons.
“First, we make sure that anyone coming to our windows is qualified to handle a weapon,” Terrell said. “Qualifications include specific weapons testing and use of force training. Defenders seeking a weapon also have to be on a flight roster. These rosters are then compared against our ‘Do Not Arm’ roster and ensure there isn’t any overlap.”
As the armory is open 24/7, hundreds of defenders are constantly visiting to either pick up or return their weapons. With this constant turnaround of equipment, maintaining the high standard the armory has in place is crucial.
“It’s big knowing that, as an armorer, you are directly responsible for the well-being of your fellow defenders and everyone else on base,” Terrell said. “We have to continue to remain on top of our game to make sure the base continues to remain safe for everyone.”