CRANE, Ind. - The 221st Ordnance Company out of Fort Wayne completed an ammunition crucible training exercise at Crane Army Ammunition Activity July 13-16.
The ammunition crucible is a 96-hour training event focused on providing 89B ammunition specialists of the 221st Ordnance Company the opportunity to evaluate and assess their unit's readiness based on the safe and secure movement of ammunition.
"As on 89B, the main objective of the training is to make sure the ammunition is safe for the Warfighter, and safe prior to issuing the ammunition to incoming units," Master Sgt. Joseph Padilla of the Reserve Component Office of the Ordnance School at Fort Lee, Virginia, said. "It is broken down into three phases to help focus on mission essential tasks that the unit needs to be trained and evaluated on."
During the first phase, the ammunition supply point was established for the receipt of munitions. In the second phase, the ammunition was processed, inventoried and was issued to the incoming units. The third phase included sling-load operations, emergency destruction of the ammunition supply point and load/unload operations.
The 221st Ordnance Company had the ability to perform their two-week annual training at Crane, making it possible for them to participate in the ammunition crucible and receive real-world training.
"Aside from experiencing and completing the actual real-world mission, the Soldiers also got good live, hands-on training with ammunition," Padilla said of their time on base.
This is the first time the training exercise has been done by a unit, and the first time it has been done at Crane. While the weekend exercise does not directly impact the CAAA workforce, it fits Crane Army's priority of supporting Soldier readiness.
"If it is good for the Army, and promotes the readiness of the Warfighter, Crane Army is there to support them in their mission," CAAA commander Col. Mike Garlington said.
The training exercise was planned earlier this year to assist with readiness issues within ammunition companies. Henry Koelzer, a Combined Arms Training Strategy analyst in the Training Development Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, was part of the team that helped design the training event.
"I personally believe it is an award-winning exercise," Koelzer said. "It will solve a problem that the Army has, which is a problem with unit training at the ammunition company level."
Crane Army hosts reserve units during various training exercises each year from all over the United States. By merging the capabilities of CAAA and the different skillsets of each unit, both the Soldiers and Crane Army reap the benefits.
"In the reserve component, we see this exercise as being an annual event that is incorporated into their annual training," Koezler said. "We are at Crane doing the exercise for the first time ever, and basically we're trying to find out how we can make it better for the future."
During the ammunition crucible, the commander of the 310th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, Brig. Gen. Vincent Barker, visited the unit to see how the Soldiers were performing.
"There are very few places in the region that an ordnance unit like this can to train in this manner, and have the opportunity to work within job-specific skills," Barker said. "At the end of the day it's all about readiness - both on the individual and unit level. What a great facility here at Crane to train for readiness."
Established Oct. 1977, Crane Army Ammunition Activity produces and provides conventional munitions requirements in support of U.S. Army and 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.