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Gunsmithing spoken here

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February 13, 2003

MCLB Albany-- The Marine Base is responsible for making sure military weapons work. They repair and rebuild all kinds of guns here.

That's a huge responsibility, and one they take very seriously.

A .50 caliber machine gun is being test fired. It's the final step in weapon refurbishment that goes on here at MCLB Albany. "We work on all the weapons for East Coast Marines," says Supervisor George Potter.

At the small arms shop at the maintenance center, weapons are cleaned, repaired, or even rebuilt. Then it's time to test them.

Anthony Pettiford is a small arms repairman, and he's testing a .50 caliber weapon he worked on. "This can be mounted on a humvee or jeep, so gunnery can fire it without exposing himself to enemy fire."

And enemy fire is on his mind as he works. "We've been drilling every other weekend to prepare for mobilization." Pettiford is part of the 988th Quartermaster Unit from Dublin.

His supply unit is on deployment notice. "We're just in a holding pattern right now." And it's that holding pattern that's hardest on his wife and daughter. "Once they know we're leaving, they'll be okay," said Pettiford.

And until that day comes, he knows this job is only preparing him for what's ahead. "Training here will help me with my unit. I'll be able to assist in handling these weapons."

Weapons refurbished at MCLB Albany, that may soon be used in combat. They work on all kinds of weapons in the gun shop: M249 Squad Automatic Weapons, M16's, M240 Machine Guns that are mounted on vehicles and even the MK 19 Grenade Launcher-machine gun.

posted at 2:20PM by dave.miller@walb.com