Job Family: Environmental Health and Safety Ordnance Specialists
Services Offering this Occupation
Army  | Navy  | Air Force  | Marine Corps  | National Guard

Supplemental Information
Profile  | 
Photo 1: Technician repairs ordnance disposal robot.
Photo 2:
Navy ordnance man changes ordnance rack canister.

Kenny Rogers
Occupation: Ordnance Specialist

I grew up in Pasadena, MD, and joined the Air Force right out of high school. When I first told my family that I wanted to join the …

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Short Description
Ordnance is a military term for ammunition and weapons. Ordnance includes all types of ammunition, missiles, toxic chemicals, and nuclear weapons. Ammunition and weapons must be handled carefully and stored properly. Ordnance specialists transport, store, inspect, prepare, and dispose of weapons and ammunition.


What They Do
Ordnance specialists in the military perform some or all of the following duties:
  • Load nuclear and conventional explosives and ammunition on aircraft, ships, and submarines
  • Inspect mounted guns, bomb release systems, and missile launchers
  • Assemble and load explosives
  • Defuse unexploded bombs
  • Locate, identify, render safe, recover, or destroy hazardous U.S. and foreign munitions

Helpful Attributes
Helpful school subjects include general science and shop mechanics. Helpful attributes include:
  • Ability to remain calm under stress
  • Interest in working with guns and explosives

Training Provided
Job training consists of classroom instruction, including practice in ordnance maintenance. Training length varies depending on specialty. Further training occurs on the job and through advanced courses. Course content typically includes:
  • Maintenance of nuclear weapons
  • Handling, testing, and maintenance of missiles and rockets

Work Environment
Ordnance specialists work indoors and outdoors. They work in repair shops while assembling explosives and repairing weapons. They work outdoors while repairing equipment in the field and loading weapons on tanks, ships, or aircraft.


Civilian Counterparts
There are no direct civilian counterparts for many of the military ordnance specialties. However, there are many occupations that are related. For example, civilians work for government agencies and private industry doing research and development. Others work for police or fire departments as bomb-disposal experts. Some also work for munitions manufacturers and firearms makers. Ordnance specialists may also be called bomb disposal experts.

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