The visit occurred at the invitation of Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly to highlight the vital support Crane Army Ammunition Activity and Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division, provide to the Department of Defense.

"What Crane does for us is so wide and so deep," Carter said. "They do things that range from our nuclear deterrent, which is the bedrock of our national security, to supporting today's Warfighter who is protecting us."

Crane Army and NSWC, Crane Division, are the two largest tenants on the Navy base, each providing significant support to the Warfighter in their areas of expertise. The Army continues the base's legacy mission of ammunition logistics, storage and production -- providing conventional ammunition to the entire Department of Defense.

"It was a great honor to host Secretary Ash Carter at Crane for today's historic visit -- the first ever by a Secretary of Defense at Crane," Donnelly said. "Crane is one of our nation's most important military laboratories -- with thousands of Hoosiers working behind the scenes to keep our nation safe and help our troops return home safely. While Crane has been referred to as one of the Pentagon's best-kept secrets we're trying to change that, and I am pleased Secretary Carter could see the base firsthand."

Welcoming the Secretary of Defense at the base helicopter pad were Brig Gen. Richard Dix, commanding general of Joint Munitions Command, and Rear Adm. Lorin Selby, commander of the Naval Surface Warfare Center. From there a tour and briefing were provided at a nearby facility containing CAAA and NSWC displays.

The impact of the visit was one of significance to the entire base. "I command a workforce of around 725 Hoosiers who very quietly and very professionally do their jobs every day providing munitions for the Joint Warfighter," said Col. James Hooper, CAAA commander. "The Secretary's visit here was an outstanding morale boost for our workforce."

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.