CRANE, Ind. - Crane Army Ammunition Activity hosted an ordnance detachment of Army Reservists this September who were at Camp Atterbury, Ind., preparing for a mobilization to Iraq.

Forty-six Army Reservists from California sharpened their mission-specific job skills with Army civilians at the Crane Navy base for one week. According to the 163rd Ordnance Detachment's leader, Army Capt. Daniel Schilleci, the training has been well worth the effort to bring the Soldiers from Camp Atterbury.

"We're doing just about anything you can imagine for an ammunition mission - receiving, inventory, storage, shipping, and blocking and bracing of ammunition," Schilleci said. "The unit also had fire marshal attached to the detachment who is working Crane Army's safety office and mechanics who are performing maintenance missions with the Navy public works."

Reservist training missions with Crane Army are seen as a win-win for the military, since it allows the Soldiers a chance to gain experience they never had while the ammunition activity gets the use of their labor at no cost.

The Soldiers seem to relish the chance to sharpen their skills and pick up some new knowledge while they are at it. Spec. Jonathan Paul Chacon said, "It makes me well rounded as an ammunition specialist. I can cover every aspect of the job. We have been blocking and bracing. We are familiarizing ourselves with the forklifts. We are swinging sledgehammers, making sure everything is secure and won't shift. I had never done blocking and bracing before. Now I feel I can do it."

One of the greatest values the Soldiers found in the training was the expertise and guidance provided by Crane Army's veteran civilian staff. For the staff, it has allowed them to pass along what they know and teach the Soldiers the importance of handling the ammunition properly from start to finish.

"My battle buddies have all told me that they have all enjoyed the experience and are taking a lot from what they have learned here. It has been a good experience," Spec. Martinez, who was working with Chacon blocking and bracing, said. "We have enjoyed the training here. The people here have been good to work with. They are showing us the ropes and then step back and let us handle it here."

Sgt. First Class Joseph Padilla, the detachment's non-commissioned officer in charge, explained, "The civilians have been very supportive since we arrived on-site. If there is a question about something we don't understand concerning operations here, they take the time to explain it to us,"

Padilla added the training has been especially good for the newer Soldiers. "The training for the Soldiers, especially for the new Soldiers coming out of AIT, it has been good hands-on experience. They have a chance to get to know the operations and paperwork involved."

Crane Army Ammunition Activity was established in Oct. 1977 and is a tenant of the Navy Region Midwest, Naval Support Activity Crane. The Army activity maintains ordnance professionals and infrastructure to receive, store, ship, produce, renovate and demilitarize conventional ammunition, missiles and related components.