Soldiers gain real-world experience at Crane Army

By Hayley SmithAugust 14, 2017

Soldiers gain real-world experience at Crane Army
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Soldiers gain real-world experience at Crane Army
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Soldiers gain real-world experience at Crane Army
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A Soldier from the 802nd Ordnance Co. conducts firefighting training exercises during annual training at Crane Army Ammunition Activity. These include simulations of real-life situations, such as navigating through confined spaces and tangled electri... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

CRANE, Ind. - "It was the call to duty," Spc. Tyler Speck, a utilities equipment repairer with the 802nd Ordnance Company, said when asked why he enlisted in the Army. "That's why I became a Soldier."

Originally from Huntington Beach, California and now stationed in Gainesville, Georgia, he has served for almost six years. In that time, Speck has built a successful career in the field of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. He credits the Army for helping him achieve his goals.

"The first civilian job I landed after completing my military training was in HVAC, which is actually the same area I trained for in the Army," Speck said. "My Army training helped me obtain this position because it provided me with the necessary certifications, and a military background shows that there is discipline coming along with your experience."

Maintaining those skills and discipline requires extensive practice. Soldiers in the U.S. Army Reserve drill one weekend a month and hold one two-week training every year.

The Soldiers of the 802nd Ord. Co. conducted this year's training at Crane Army Ammunition Activity from July 23 to August 4. The unit increased mission readiness by performing ammunition logistics and demilitarization, vehicle maintenance, and firefighter training. While the company is headquartered in Gainesville, Georgia, there are also platoons stationed in Forest Park, Georgia, and Aiken, South Carolina.

The unit was drawn to Crane Army due to its ability to provide hands-on experience with live ammunition.

"Crane is an operation that actually services locations around the world," Capt. Nate Holloway, the officer-in-charge, said. "As opposed to a garrison training environment or warrior training center, it is the real deal. I can't think of a place where you can get better real-world experience than Crane, because the work we've been doing here is pretty much the same thing we'd do on a deployment. I'm incredibly grateful the unit was able to train at Crane Army."

The CAAA workforce benefited from the Soldiers' time on base as well.

"The Soldiers of the 802nd worked alongside Crane Army employees in receipt, storage, surveillance, demolition and shipping operations," Matt McGowen, director of Depot Operations, said. "This is incredibly advantageous to both groups. Soldiers learn valuable skills from our knowledgeable employees and CAAA civilians are reminded of the immense value of their hard work in supporting the Warfighter."

The 802nd Ordnance Co.'s training was not limited to Army operations. They also worked with other commands on base, including firefighting training with Naval Support Activity Crane's fire station and vehicle maintenance with Naval Facilities Engineering Command's mechanics.

"They've been good to work with and have some variety in what they're able to do,"

Harold McIntosh, a civilian automotive supervisor with Naval Facilities Engineering Command, said. "I've had them working on air conditioning, Humvees, five-ten trucks, pickup trucks, doing brake, service work, brake lines, fuel lines, basically anything automotive-related. I just appreciate their hard work and hope they keep coming back."

Speck elaborated on the value of coming to Crane Army in terms of increased readiness.

"The training here has been great. At most bases, the Soldiers are not able to be utilized in all areas of their competencies," he said. "This is the first training I have experienced where the base has the capabilities to provide well-rounded training for everyone. It's to the point where it doesn't even really feel like training, so much as we're just working. These are the type of operations we would perform on a deployment."

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.