CRANE, Ind. - Crane Army Ammunition Activity traditionally hosts Army Reservists who want to hone their ammunition handling skills, but this summer it also added Marine Corps Reservists from South Carolina to its growing list of units that wish to train here.

Sixteen Marine Corps Reservist, broken into two groups of eight, from Greenville, S.C., enjoyed a unique opportunity to improve their knowledge and skills with ammunition handling while learning more about the shipping and storing processes involved.

The benefits to the Marine Corps Reservists, according to CAAA Marine Corps Ammunition Liaison Officer Gunnery Sgt. Wilson Hatter, are easy to understand. He said, "They received some new techniques and a better understanding of the packaging, inspection, preparation for shipment and inventories that should be conducted with ammunition. This should produce properly packaged, shipped, accurate inventories, and properly sentenced ammunition field return/retrograde being returned to storage resulting in less discrepancies reports being submitted and less work reconfiguring, sorting, re-unitizing and reclassification of assets before they are returned to storage."

The Marine Corps Reservists have a Military Occupational Specialty of 2311 (Ammunition Technicians), allowing them to work and receive hands on training and knowledge in their MOS at the Depot Operation level during their annual training.

With such benefits, Hatter expressed hope that the training might become an annual event. He said, "Conducting this training at Crane or any of the other major ammunition depots or Naval Weapons Stations could provide the Marine Corps Reservist community additional knowledge, techniques and a better overall understanding of ammunition in general which could be applied while in an activite duty status conducting ammunition operations while deployed or in CONUS."

One of the biggest benefits of the training that the Marine's stated was the chance to understand the entire process of ammunition handling both to and from operational units.

"This broadens the spectrum and it will hopefully help them here at Crane by us seeing both sides of the process. By us knowing where it comes from and why they ask us to do certain things with the ammunition on our end before we send it out," Marine Sgt. Erica Solak said.

Solak, who was the team leader of the first group, added, "It is really a chance to understand what happens to the old stuff once it is beat up, busted down and needs to be recycled. I know a lot of times CAAA needs us to ship things back in a certain fashion. Understanding what they need from us and why is a huge deal - why we have to band things in a certain way and why it is so structured. Understanding why something might seem so minute to us is a big deal here because of safety."

Echoing those comments, Marine Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Hurley, the team leader of the second group, said, "The exercise provided the opportunity to see the big picture of how ammunition goes from point A to point B and beyond."

The second group of Marine Reservists also had the opportunity to work with Army Reservists who were also training at Crane as part of the three-week, national level exercise Golden Cargo.
"These [Soldiers] know what they're doing," said Marine Lance Cpl. Mark Comer, an ammunition technician who works as a software trainer in Greenville. "This is my first time training with Soldiers ... I feel fortunate to be here."

The training was requested/proposed by Marine Capt. Ronald Stout Inspector-Instructor, Ammunition Company, 4th Supply Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, who was a liaison at NSWC Crane and also worked with CAAA. His firsthand knowledge of the capabilities and scope of the ammunition operation conducted at Crane helped him to understand why this training evolution would be beneficial for both the Army and Marines.

While no plan has been set up for more training yet, Hatter said he expected that some Marine Corps Reservists will conduct annual training for some reservist next year.

CAAA was established in Oct. 1977 and is a tenant of the Navy Region Midwest, Naval Support Activity Crane. The Army activity maintains ordnance professionals and infrastructure to receive, store, ship, produce, renovate and demilitarize conventional ammunition, missiles and related components.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16