Crane Army unveils modernization efforts

By Herald Staff

CRANE — Col. Gavin Gardner, commander of Joint Munitions Command, toured facilities at Crane Army Ammunition Activity on March 22 and 23 to assess ongoing modernization efforts and to observe how the activity continues to provide conventional munitions readiness to warfighters in a COVID-19 environment.

Col. Stephen Dondero, commander of Crane Army Ammunition Activity, used Gardner’s two-day visit to drill into the specifics of Crane Army’s modernization strategy, as state-of-the-art facilities prepare to open and routine operations are streamlined. Moving forward, these upgrades will enable CAAA to provide improved munitions readiness and better position warfighters for the battles of today and tomorrow.

“Right now, the Army is focused on adapting how our Soldiers fight," Gardner said. "If modern problems require modern solutions, then the most important thing that Crane Army can do is to ensure it is also adapting and modernizing to support the warfighter."

Crane Army’s new plating facility will replace an aging, World War II-era facility. The visit allowed Gardner to assess updates to the construction project that have occurred since he last toured it in 2020.

The facility boasts a new air conditioning system that protects equipment from heat damage and has been equipped with reliable technology that eliminates frequent outages or issues that cause delays for the mission.

Gardner and Dondero also made a variety of visits across the installation, including one to the MK20 Rockeye conversion facility, where bomblets are removed from unserviceable munitions and converted into leaflet dispensers. They rode the rails to ready service magazines via a Crane Army train after a tour of the activity’s new shipping and receiving facility, slated to start operations this summer.

The shipping and receiving facility will include in-house inspection bays, modern bay doors and docks and enhanced safety features. Once operational, the facility will streamline receiving processes by inspecting munitions immediately upon arrival and sending them directly to storage.

“It’s the pinnacle of modernization for our activity. This facility will make operations run smoother, safer and become more centralized than ever before,” Dondero said. “It will allow Crane Army to get munitions ready for issue to the warfighter sooner.”

To CAAA, modernization doesn’t just mean having the flashiest facilities. It means improving working conditions, enhancing safety measures and always meeting the mission to provide munitions for the U.S. military.

“Crane Army is achieving modernization by pursuing the right projects," Gardner said. "But efficiency of operations doesn’t only require new facilities and technology, but the right people in the right place creating those efficiencies. Crane is also putting its people first, and the efforts I’m seeing at Crane today are the modern solution to the Army’s modern problems. I’m looking forward to my next visit.”

Crane Army Ammunition Activity ships, stores, demilitarizes and produces conventional munitions in support of U.S. Army and Joint Force readiness. It serves as the second largest Army ammunition depot, holding roughly a fourth of the U.S. Department of Defense’s conventional munitions. CAAA is a subordinate command of the Joint Munitions Command and the U.S. Army Materiel Command, which comprise arsenals, depots, activities and ammunition plants. Established in October 1977, it is located on Naval Support Activity Crane.

More on