Crane Army employees tout benefits to choice of duty station

By Lindsay GrantNovember 21, 2022

Crane Army employees tout benefits to choice of duty station
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Angel Rudd, Crane Army equal employment specialist, is photographed with her daughter in Wiesbaden, Germany in 2007. She was stationed in Germany multiple times throughout her 20 years of active duty service. While transitioning out of the Army, Rudd had the opportunity to bring her daughter to “Shadow Your Soldier Day” which included a trip to the installation’s airfield. (Courtesy photo) (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
Crane Army employees tout benefits to choice of duty station
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Matthew McGowen, Crane Army director of depot operations, is photographed in uniform with his son. While a civilian at CAAA, McGowen also serves as a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve. His family has supported McGowen from their home in Indiana while he has been deployed, trained and traveled to military installations around the world. (Courtesy photo) (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
Crane Army employees tout benefits to choice of duty station
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Spc. Nicholas Vespia recently began a Personnel Force Innovation tour at Crane Army, serving as a personnel specialist in CAAA’s staff directorate. A Soldier in the Army Reserve, Vespia has never lived on an Army installation but is experiencing life working on a military base at Naval Support Activity, Crane. | Photo by Lindsay Grant, Crane Army Ammunition Activity Public Affairs Office (Photo Credit: Lindsay Grant) VIEW ORIGINAL

CRANE, Ind. - The Army is currently offering duty station of choice to recruits, which means Future Soldiers can opt to select their first duty station after completing basic training. The 32 current location options include places like Hawaii, Germany, Korea, Italy and Colorado.

Current and former Soldiers at Crane Army Ammunition Activity have had the opportunity to live all over the world and experience what it’s like to live and train on a variety of installations near and far, from Fort Knox in Kentucky to Camp Humphreys in South Korea. Roughly 25% of the CAAA Civilians that produce, store, renovate, ship and demilitarize the DOD’s conventional munitions have also served in uniform.

Matthew McGowen, Crane Army director of depot operations, joined the Army at 17 years old and had his full college tuition and most of his master’s degree paid for by the Indiana National Guard. Now in the Army Reserve, McGowen has risen to the rank of lieutenant colonel and has visited many Army installations during his career. He touts the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Programs as one of the best perks of living on base.

“It’s hard to choose one installation as the best, because Soldiers have diverse interests,” McGowen said. “For instance, Soldiers who are hunters and fishermen may enjoy Fort Polk, [Louisiana], and those who prefer city life might enjoy Fort Sam Houston, [Texas].”

MWR can provide a variety of entertainment and recreation opportunities for Soldiers – like kayaking and camping trips, art classes, skiing adventures, live music and newly released movie showings.

“MWR opportunities are a huge benefit to all Soldiers – whether they are single or have families,” McGowen said.

Opportunities through MWR vary from installation to installation, but often include camping and outdoor recreation, libraries, discounted tickets for amusement parks and travel offices. Though these opportunities will be available closer to Active Duty Soldiers, National Guard and Reserve Soldiers can utilize MWR as well.

Angel Rudd, Crane Army equal employment specialist, served 20 years active duty in the Army. She enlisted right out of high school with the goals of paying for college and getting out of her small hometown in Louisiana.

After completing basic training in the first group of women to attend training with men at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, Rudd was assigned to a unit in Germany, where she would be one of the first women embedded in her heavy combat unit.

“Being assigned in Germany was a big part of the reason I chose to reenlist,” Rudd said. “I wanted to continue making a difference abroad while traveling Europe.”

Throughout her career, Rudd was stationed in Germany and South Korea multiple times, as well as at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington.

“The Army enabled me to travel and develop a broader view of life,” Rudd said. “There is so much more to see and experience than you think.”

The Army has a presence in many countries around the world. However, if staying closer your hometown is more ideal for your needs, there are 32 duty locations being offered with duty station of choice that guarantee Soldiers’ initial duty location, giving new service members more predictability stateside.

Spc. Nicholas Vespia recently began a Personnel Force Innovation tour at Crane Army, serving as a personnel specialist in CAAA’s staff directorate.

While Vespia is originally from Las Vegas, Nevada, most Soldiers enlisting in the Army Reserve typically serve within 90 minutes of their hometown. This PFI assignment at Crane Army is allowing him to work toward active duty benefits and experience life away from his hometown.

“I’ve really liked living in Indiana,” Vespia said. “There’s a lot of wildlife where I live, and fall is a real thing here.”

Vespia decided to use Army benefits such as extra pay in the form of Basic Allowance for Housing to live off-base during his tour. However, as a single Soldier, he listed short commutes to work and proximity to fitness facilities as major benefits of living on an active Army installation.

“Joining the Army is similar to going to college,” Vespia said. “Your barracks are your dorm, where you develop a fraternal sense of organization. That’s where you make your friends for life.”

Whether you’re looking to travel the world, gain job experience or receive education opportunities, the Army has something to offer everyone. Along with great benefits, the Army is currently offering enlistment incentives and bonuses.

Visit to learn more about types of service, branches that you can join and the places you can live and work when you join the Army.

About Crane Army

Crane Army Ammunition Activity produces and provides conventional munitions requirements in support of U.S. Army and 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. Established Oct. 1977, it is located on

Naval Support Activity Crane.

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