CRANE, Ind. -- Marine Reservists with the General Support Ammunition Platoon of the 4th Supply Battalion completed a two week annual training at Crane Army Ammunition Activity June 28, enhancing their skills with ammunition handling.
Fifty-eight Marine Corps Reservists, the majority from Topeka, Kan., enjoyed a unique opportunity to improve their knowledge and skills with ammunition handling while learning more about the shipping and storing processes involved.
"Although CAAA is a large depot level facility that provides ammunition to other storage facilities, the training offered prepares our Marines for real-world operations," Chief Warrant Officer Three Christopher Deering, General Support Ammunition Platoon Inspector Instructor, said. "Our Marines work at the lowest level of supply; we directly support the unit employing the ammunition. By training at CAAA, we were able to become more familiar with the inspection process by working side by side with the surveillance teams. The Marines were able to refine their ability to spot imperfections during their inspection. For many of the Marines, this was their first opportunity to inspect ammunition. This first look allowed the team leads to instill good habits that will be the base line for the Marines when conducting inspections for years to come."
During the training, Marines interacted with Crane Army's veteran workforce training on inventory, tracking, warehousing, containerization, shipping & receiving operations, safety, ammunition surveillance, and blocking and bracing.
"Working with the civilian staff aboard Crane has been a pleasure," Chief Warrant Officer Three Jeffery Sawdey, General Support Ammunition Platoon officer in Charge, said. "The leadership team's attention to detail and flexibility to meet our training requirements exceeded our initial expectations and we look forward to continuing to develop the relationship into future training opportunities."
Likewise, Crane Army's workforce was equally pleased with the hard work and professionalism from the Marines. According to Crane Army's Reserve Liaison Lance Daters, "I received several comments from Depot Operations regarding the Marines conducting their training over the last two weeks. They have been very impressed with the professionalism displayed, their eagerness to learn new skills and not afraid to ask questions about things they do not understand."
"The Marines were appreciative of the training offered and the individual instruction given by each staff member at CAAA. The experiences gained during this exercise are hard to duplicate at any other site. Several of the Marines commented on how educational it was to learn another side of the ammunition field," Sawdey said.
Sawdey indicated that the work and training performed at Crane Army provided his Marines with real-world operational knowledge as well as refinement and growth opportunities that they would not normally be exposed to within their military occupational specialty. He said, "In addition to ammunition operations, numerous Marines gained valuable material handling equipment exposure on various types of equipment which they could experience in a joint operational environment. As combat operations downsize in Afghanistan, CAAA provides the newer Marines on-the-job training in the ammunition field which will be a crucial asset to ensure we maintain our combat effectiveness."
Deering echoed that idea when he said, "The time spent with the staff of CAAA also gave the Marines confidence in the ammunition that they provide to the end user. Being able to inspect the ammunition allowed the Marines to gain an understanding of the rigorous tests and high standards that the Marine Corps requires. At the end of the training evolution the Marines were able to learn the correct way to inspect ammunition. This provided a strong foundation for the junior Marines and refined the finer details for the more seasoned Marines."
Established Oct. 1977, Crane Army Ammunition Activity maintains ordnance professionals and infrastructure in order to receive, store, ship, produce, renovate and demilitarize conventional ammunition, missiles and related components for the entire Department of Defense. The Army activity is a subordinate of the Joint Munitions Command and is located on Naval Support Activity Crane.