Gunnery Officer



Information Sheet Number: 1.16



The majority of ammunition handling evolutions fall under the cognizance of the Gunnery Officer. Therefore, as the ship's resident safety observer, it is imperative that you be extremely knowledgeable of the applicable ordnance safety directives and handling qualification process. The Gunnery Officer must be able to recognize unsafe situations before they become accidents.


(a) NAVSEA OP 4 Ammunition Afloat

(b) NAVSEA OP 3347 U.S. Navy Ordnance Safety Precautions

(c) NAVORD OP 1014 Ordnance Safety Precautions, Their Origin And Necessity

(d) COMNAVSURFLANTINST 8023.4 Series/COMNAVSURFPAC 8023.5 (Series) Explosives Handling Personnel Qualification And Certification (Qual/Cert) Program

(e) SW030-AA-MMO-010 Navy Gun Type Ammunition

(f) U.S. Navy Regulations

(g) OPNAVINST 3120.32 Standard Organization And Regulations Of The U.S. Navy

(h) Surface Force Standing TACMEMO XZ0050-2-94

(i) OPNAVINST 5100.21C encl (3) CODR



1. The general regulations set forth in this article shall be supplemented by additional regulations for the specific explosive or explosive item involved. These additional regulations are published in other official publications issued by NAVSEA.

2. All personnel required to handle ammunition shall be carefully and frequently instructed in the safety regulations and methods of handling, as well as storage and uses of ammunition.

3. No one shall be permitted to inspect or prepare live ammunition and explosives until they thoroughly understand their duties and the precautions and hazards involved.

4. Only careful, reliable, mentally sound and physically fit personnel shall be permitted to work with or use explosives or ammunition.

5. Anyone knowing of defective ammunition, containers, handling devices or willful/accidental violations of safety regulations shall immediately report this fact to their immediate supervisor.

6. No ammunition, explosives or ammunition components shall be given away or diverted to private use unless specifically authorized by NAVSEA.

7. All personnel who supervise the inspection, care, preparation, handling or disposal of ammunition shall:

a. Carefully instruct and frequently warn subordinate personnel of the need for care and constant vigilance.

b. Prior to beginning the operation, ensure that all subordinates are familiar with:

(1) The characteristics of the explosives involved

(2) The equipment to be used

(3) Safety regulations to be observed

(4) The hazards of fire, explosion, and other catastrophes which safety regulations are intended to prevent

c. Be alert to detect any hazardous procedures, practices, or symptoms of a deteriorating mental attitude and take corrective action.

8. Smoking is not permitted in magazines or in the vicinity of handling or loading operations.

9. Matches, lighters, and spark or flame producing devices are not permitted in spaces where ammunition or explosives are present.

10. Personnel engaged in handling operations involving explosives or ammunition shall be limited to the minimum number required to perform the operation properly and safely.

11. Unauthorized personnel shall not be permitted in magazines or in the vicinity of handling or loading operations involving ammunition. Authorized visitors shall always be properly escorted.

12. The output or productivity of personnel engaged in explosive ordnance handling operations shall never be evaluated on a competitive basis.

13. Standard operating procedures shall be prepared for all hazardous operations and shall be approved by competent authority before operations are started. All personnel shall be familiar with these procedures.

14. When fused or assembled with firing mechanisms, mines, missiles, and aircraft bombs shall be treated as if they were armed.

15. Live ammunition or missiles shall be loaded only for firing purposes except where approved by NAVSEASYSCOM.

16. No live ammunition shall be used for drill purposes without authorization from TYCOM.

17. Cleanliness in magazines shall conform to the following guidelines:

a. Magazines and other spaces containing ammunition shall be kept scrupulously clean.

b. Combustible materials such as paper, oily rags, cotton waste, solvents, and volatile liquids are not permitted in or near a magazine except when used for appropriate purposes.

c. Care shall be taken to ensure that no steel wool, sand, gravel, or other abrasive substances are on the decks of magazines or other spaces where explosives are handled.

d. The bulkheads, overhead, and deck should be wiped or washed down as often as necessary to keep them clean.

e. All ammunition holding and securing devices shall be kept free of oil, grease, paint, and shall be frequently inspected for good condition.

18. No ammunition or explosive assembly shall be used in any gun or equipment for which it was not designed.

a. No explosives or pyrotechnic devices shall be manufactured, purchased, or assembled for use in demonstrations, tests, or for any other purpose unless specifically authorized by NAVSEASYSCOM.

b. No explosive, pyrotechnic device or ammunition item shall in any way be altered, added to, or used in any unorthodox or unusual manner without prior approval from NAVSEASYSCOM.

19. Special handling regulations

a. Ammunition items that require special handling procedures

(1) Extreme care must be taken in handling black powder and smokeless powder since they are highly sensitive to shock, friction, sparks, heat and static electricity. Only non-sparking tools shall be used to open containers of these explosives.

(2) Projectiles

(a) Whether packed, unpacked, crated, or palletized, projectiles must be carefully handled and stored to avoid detonation or damage to the rotating band, bourrelets, fuzes caps, paint, or identification markings.

(b) They should be handled with NAVSEA-approved handling equipment only.

(c) When a loaded or fuzed projectile is dropped five feet or more, it shall be set aside, tagged, and turned in at the first opportunity or deep water dumped at the Commanding Officer's discretion.

(d) Never slide major caliber projectiles down a slide without using a restraining line. The base of the projectile (except where specifically stated otherwise) shall be toward the lower end of the slide.

(e) If projectiles have not entered the chamber, immediately after firing operations they shall be placed in a safe condition, returned to their containers, and stowed in the magazine.

(f) Live rounds which have entered the chamber shall be fired or unloaded from the gun in accordance with procedures set forth in SW300-BC-SAF-010 (Clearing of Live Ammo).

b. Cartridge tanks - propelling charges

(1) These charges shall be handled carefully to prevent misalignment or damage to the round.

(2) Care should be exercised to avoid denting the thin walled body, opening the seams, or loosening the top or bottom crimp since these actions would permit exposure of the powder to the atmosphere.

c. Explosive components

(1) Fuzes, boosters, and detonators are loaded with explosives which are sensitive to shock, heat, and friction and should be handled with care.

(2) Every effort should be made to keep component containers sealed air-tight when so packed and to limit atmospheric exposure.

(3) Containers of explosives or blasting caps and fuzes shall not be left uncovered and must be in the custody of authorized personnel at all times.

(4) Use only approved tools to open the containers. Wire, nails or sharp instruments should never be used to pry open a container.

d. Pyrotechnics

(1) Pyrotechnics are more easily ignited than ammunition and the burning is usually difficult to extinguish.

(2) As a general rule, any pyrotechnic device that has been armed and otherwise prepared for launching but has not been used may be restored in its original packaging and returned to storage.

(3) Smoke producing pyrotechnic devices used in screening that have misfired or have been in water will not be taken aboard ship.

e. White phosphorus (WP)

(1) When WP loaded projectiles are stowed in the same magazine with other projectiles, the WP projectiles shall be segregated to the greatest extent possible from others.

(2) WP must be stowed where temperature can be maintained below

100E F.

(a) If the space is equipped with a ventilation system, the system shall not be used except to maintain the temperature below 100E F.

(b) The space shall have a sprinkler system capable of being rapidly activated and completely flooding the space.

(3) Loaded WP ammunition should be handled carefully so it will retain its air-tight seal.

(4) WP will spontaneously ignite if exposed to the atmosphere. If combustion occurs in a confined space, the oxygen content in the space may not be sufficient to support life.

(5) WP vapors and fires can best be controlled by complete immersion of the leaking item of WP in a tank of water. The tank must be kept available in the magazine.

(6) Personnel involved in handling WP "leakers" shall be provided goggles, face shields, heavy leather or rubber gloves, and rubber aprons, which should be kept watered down if possible.

(7) WP ammunition will be protected from direct sunlight and from rain, sea spray or other conditions that may cause corrosion.

20. Commanders, Commanding Officers, and Officers-in-Charge of naval activities and units, both afloat and ashore, shall institute annual onboard training programs to instruct personnel in the regulations and precautions involved with non-nuclear ordnance handling. Particular attention shall be given to:

a. Non-ordnance personnel who are in any way involved with explosives or ammunition.

b. Newly reported personnel who will be required to participate in evolutions involving explosives or ammunition.


1. Basic instruction is COMNAVSURFLANTINST 8023.4F and COMNAVSURFPACINST 8023.5B.

2. Purpose:

a. To establish and insure that before performing any task involving any explosive device, each person is formally certified by the command assigned as having satisfactorily demonstrated the qualifications to properly and safely perform all required functions and tasks involving the explosive device.

b. Establish a documented training program in order to further reduce or eliminate explosive mishaps caused by personnel error.

3. Qualification/certification applies to the following personnel:

a. All military, civilian and contractor personnel who, in the course of their duties, are required to perform any operation involving any explosive device.

b. All safety observers, supervisors, command appointed certification board members and personnel who inspect explosive operations or systems repairs for quality assurance purposes.

c. All personnel who operate "powered non-mobile equipment" and "powered mobile equipment".

4. Personnel requiring individual certification:

a. Personnel who must inspect (including acting as safety observers) prepare, adjust, arm, or de-arm explosive devices

b. Supervisors of explosive operations and members of the certification board

5. Personnel requiring team qualification and certification:

a. Personnel who must pack, unpack, assemble, test, fuse, load, or download as a member of a team or group.

b. Requalification as a team after personnel changes is at the discretion of the Commanding Officer.

c. Shipboard gun and missile crews are considered teams.

6. The certification program is not applicable to:

a. Personnel whose sole contact is when assigned to working parties

b. Personnel who only use small arms or signaling devices

c. Marine aircraft squadron/detachment personnel

d. Naval aviation squadron/detachment personnel

e. EOD personnel at EOD school

7. Qualification/certification board

a. Board chairman:

(1) Shall be the Commanding Officer/Officer-in-Charge, unless it is delegated to the cognizant department head.

(2) Need not be qualified or certified unless their duties include the supervision of any work task associated with explosive devices.

(3) Shall be tasked with overseeing the command qual/cert program and ensuring that it is carried out in accordance with the current directives.

(4) Shall set the standard policy for qualification and the procedure for determining final certification.

b. Certification board members:

(1) Must be E-6 or above

(2) Must be appointed in writing, by name, by the Commanding Officer.

(3) Should be the most qualified individual within the command as related to the specific task code.

Note: A minimum of one board member in addition to the board chairman is required. No limit can be established for the total number of board members since the mission of some activities is highly diversified.

c. Duties of board members:

(1) Observe and evaluate the proficiency of personnel being nominated for certification and make recommendations to the chairman.

(2) Review existing and proposed local training plans and make appropriate recommendations.

(3) Review minor and major explosive device safety/infractions and make recommendations to the Commanding Officer concerning corrective actions.

8. Certification is valid for one year.

9. Certification is transferable, if agreed upon by the receiving command.

10. Initial certification/turnover requirements

a. Initial certification of board members is limited to one board member per explosive device.

b. The current board member must ensure their relief is onboard and certified.

c. Re-establishment of a board member position, when there is no board member currently assigned, will require assistance from outside the command.

11. Prerequisites required to achieve final qualification/certification:

a. Documentation

(1) Personnel Qualification Standards (PQS) for specific work task

(2) Any prior related formal schools

(3) Classroom type lectures relating to work task

(4) Any on-the-job training



12. Certification procedures:

a. Identify all billets that require certification and a determine the explosive devices, certification level, and the work task codes required of each billet.

b. A qualification process is initiated to provide the individual with the training required to achieve final qualification.

c. Upon determination by the division officer that the individual is fully qualified and recommended for certification, the board chairman shall be notified.

d. Training records shall be closely reviewed by the board member to ensure all elements of the training process have been completed.

e. Once the determination has been made that the person meets the requirements, the certification form will be signed and dated by the board chairman.

(1) The board chairman shall keep the original copy of all completed certification forms.

(2) A copy will be kept by the division officer in the individual's training record.

13. Qualification/certification levels:

a. Team Member (TM) basic qualification requirements

(1) Aware of basic safety precautions relative to the task and explosive devices concerned

(2) Received formal and on-the-job training

(3) Recommended by their immediate supervisor

(4) Must not work with ordnance unless supervised by team leader

b. Individual/Team Leader (I/TL) qualification requirements

(1) Same as for team member (TM)

(2) Must have sufficient knowledge and demonstrated proficiency to be entrusted with performing the work task alone and to direct the performance of others in safe and reliable operations

c. Quality Assurance (QA) qualification requirements

(1) Same as individual team leader (I,TL) and Team Member (TM)

(2) Must have detailed knowledge and ability to perform as well as train others in applicable explosive device/system inspection criteria

(3) Must be able to decide that the necessary assembly or installation procedures have been completed per applicable directives

d. Safety Observer (SO) qualification requirements

(1) Must have sufficient knowledge of safety procedures and the functioning of safety devices

(2) Must have working knowledge of work task procedures to determine subsequent reaction when safety procedures or devices are not properly used

14. Record of certification

a. Explosive device:

(1) Enter the explosive device

b. Certification level/work tasks:

(1) Enter the applicable certification level the person is to be assigned

(2) Enter work task code from the list given on the form as it pertains to the actual task to be assigned per explosive device

c. Individual's signature:

(1) Signature of person being qualified

(2) Signing acknowledges certification level and work task for explosive device for the individual

d. Certification board observer signature:

(1) Signature of the board member who actually observes the individual performing the task under consideration

e. Board chairman signature:

(1) The date signed by the board chairman for each line entry is the date the certification becomes valid

f. Recertification:

(1) Can be accomplished using space provided on bottom of form

(2) Effective once the individual and the board chairman sign and date the form































































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