CRANE, Ind. -- Marine Corps Reservists with the Combat Logistics Battalion 453 based out of Topeka, Kansas, completed their annual, two week training July 1 at Crane Army Ammunition Activity.
The Army Activity provided an ideal location for on-the-job experience through its ammunition logistics mission for the 62 Marine Corps ammunition technicians.
"We are all ammunition technicians so working at a place like Crane allows for hands on ammunition training for the Marines, as well as exposure to things they might not see on a regular ammunition supply point," Warrant Officer 1 Mac Jones said. "This is a higher level ammunition activity, so here they're actually doing shipment, blocking and bracing, demolition, and just a number of things that normally as reservists we're not exposed to."
Crane Army's unique capabilities allow for the Marines to receive hands on training with live ammunition, an opportunity to experience mission essential tasks, and hone specific skills such as accountability, inventory of ammunition, proper procedures, and safety.
"CAAA provides services that enhance the individual's skill, such as fork lift operating, ammunition surveillance, demolition, ammunition burning ground, and blockers and bracers," CAAA Reserve Coordinator, Army Chief Warrant Officer 3 Damon Reynolds, said. "Those individual skill sets can be honed in on while they're here that other places can't really facilitate."
The reservists benefited from completing their training at CAAA, and at the same time their training also had a significant impact on the workload at Crane Army. Steve Cummings, CAAA operations center coordinator, explained he already noticed the effects the reservists had on the execution of the workload for the two weeks the Marines were there.
"They've really helped us. We haven't actually run the numbers yet, but I'm guessing we're running about 20 to 25 percent more crews this week. That's a big plus for us," Cummings said. "I've gotten a lot of positive feedback from my crews. They enjoy having the Marines here. These guys have been great guests, they're hardworking, and at the same time I think we're a good host."
The reservists were directly imbedded with CAAA veteran employees during their time on the base. Cummings indicated that they were specifically working closely with ammunition handlers for storage, field crews, surveillance crews, and some reservists are imbedded in the demolition range and burning ground.
"Everything I've learned so far is completely new for me. They've had me jump around, so I've got to go to a bunch different areas on base," Lance Cpl. Dalen Reed said. "I've mainly been working in inventory and depot operations. This is the job I signed up for when I joined, and if I was ever deployed, this is what I would be doing."
CAAA employees and the reservists got the opportunity to share knowledge about their work and the chance to experience the different sides of ammunition handling.
"Having the Marines here gives the workforce up close exposure to the Warfighter, who they support every day," Crane Army Depot Operations Director Matt McGowen said. "It is a reminder that what they do here is real, and it is a good opportunity to see the impact of what they are doing on the Warfighter."
Established Oct. 1977, Crane Army Ammunition Activity produces and provides logistical support to meet conventional munitions requirements in support of Joint Force readiness. It is one of 14 installations of the Joint Munitions Command and one of 23 organic industrial bases under the U.S. Army Materiel Command, which include arsenals, depots, activities and ammunition plants.