CRANE, Ind. - Crane Army Ammunition Activity recently provided an opportunity for more than 20 cadets of the Indiana University ROTC to practice their day and night land navigation skills on unfamiliar terrain at the Crane Naval Support Activity.
IU ROTC Professor of Military Science Lt. Col. Eric Arnold said the training opportunity, held Jan. 30, provided a great value to the cadets by giving them a course they had never seen and was relatively untouched.
"We typically go to Camp Atterbury about four times a year. The problem is that these kids are juniors and they all have been to Atterbury six or seven times. So they know the land navigation course by heart," Arnold said. "The problem is that this summer they are going to Fort Lewis, Wash., and see a land navigation course they have never seen before. So the advantage of coming here is that they see an entirely new piece of terrain."
Arnold added, "We are only about 25 miles from here and we had no idea that this great terrain was here. It will be an awesome partnership from this point forward."
According to 2nd Lt. Daniel Couture, a gold bar recruiter at IU, the cadets are given a map, grid marks, a protractor, and then given eight-digit grids they need to properly plot on the map. They then traverse the landscape to those points where there is a little placard for them to mark showing they made it to that point.
Before the training began, Cadet Mathew Umstot, a senior and squad leader, gave a good indication of how the cadets appreciated the opportunity. He said, "I am pretty excited. A lot of us have memorized the course we did before. So getting a fresh look at the course that is similar to the one we will be doing (at Fort Lewis) for our grade and our commission is an exciting opportunity."
What gave us the idea initially was 2nd Lt. Couture, who used to be an enlisted Navy man who worked out here. He kept explaining to us that Crane could work for us for setting up land navigation sites and doing basic patrolling, but we thought it was only a Naval Depot with a lot of ammunition. He told us that they had a lot of land, good land. So we sent our operations officer to check it out. And he confirmed that it is a great property and they are willing to work with us."
"It looks like it will mimic Fort Lewis quite a bit, so it will help us out," IU ROTC Commandant of Cadets and Senior Military Instructor Master Sgt. Richard Meiers said, "This is a more realistic scenario compared to what they will be doing at Fort Lewis in the summer."
The training, arranged through CAAA's Reserve Liaison Lance Daters explained that while CAAA does not receive anything back directly for helping the cadets, there is an important value to it.
"This type of event shows the local communities that we are here to support them in a diverse way. Most people understand what Crane is about, but few people know what additional things Crane has to offer," Daters said. "This also serves as a starting point for future relationships with new officers. You never know who might be in a position to assist Crane down the road, the possibilities are endless."
CAAA 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.