CRANE, Ind. -The 221st Ordnance Company out of Fort Wayne, Indiana, increased mission readiness while conducting annual training at Crane Army Ammunition Activity where Soldiers performed equipment inspections, ammunition logistics and firefighting and rescue procedures from July 8-21.

The training provided an opportunity for Soldiers to hone essential skills.

"The Soldiers conducted a wide variety of exercises, including ammunition demilitarization, quality control and assurance, equipment and small arms inspections, firefighting, building configured loads, and running an ammunition supply point in a 96-hour exercise," 1st Lt. Forrest Feuer, the officer-in-charge, said. "For a modular ammo company there is no substitute for working with a real-world ammo depot like Crane."

Crane Army's ability to provide hands-on experience with live ammunition drew the unit to the base.

"The work we are doing at Crane has made this the best annual training I've ever experienced," Sgt. 1st Class Michael Miller said. "Our unit mainly consists of ammo specialists, and since there are such massive ammunition operations here our Soldiers are actually getting to handle, inspect and transport ammo instead of being limited to only tactical operations."

Crane's accomplished civilian employees instructed Soldiers on these duties, many of which they perform full-time. The benefit was two-fold as the Soldiers enhanced their skills while Crane civilians provided mentorship on inspection and logistics techniques.

"The Soldiers increased workload productivity at Crane Army and assisted in determining and expanding capabilities long-term," Program Management Branch Chief Braden Ramsey said. "Their presence also reminded people of the end user of Crane products and just how much Soldiers rely on materials working properly the first time, every time."

In addition to ammunition handlers, the unit included firefighters who also conducted training operations alongside Crane civilians. Their work was not limited to extinguishing fires. The Soldiers conducted water safety and heat casualty procedures as well to ensure that they are prepared for any situation.

"The fire station employees were really accommodating with us. They bent over backwards to ensure we got the training we needed," Spc. Trevon Adkins said. "This work is great for our firefighters and is exactly what we would do if deployed."

The Soldiers were quick to acknowledge that the training resources-both in terms of experienced civilians and extensive facilities-at Crane are not widely available.

"We are really grateful for the Crane workforce who worked side-by-side with us to make sure our Soldiers get the training they need and for the use of the base," 2nd Lt. Jessica Reyes said. "We thank Crane Army for this opportunity."

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 17 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.