Crane's rail operations bolster munitions readiness

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By Herald Staff

CRANE — Crane Army Ammunition Activity remains ready to support the warfighter no matter the situation, according to a press release. Crane Army’s rail operations are an essential part of maintaining munitions readiness and allow CAAA to move munitions around base easily and ensure munitions can be stored so they are ready to go whenever they are needed.

Before Crane Army took over rail operations, Naval Facilities Engineering Crane, or NAVFAC, was responsible for trains and railway on base and organized their use with CAAA. In the three years since Crane Army has brought the rail system under its belt, Crane Army has seen notable improvement in its communication and planning, allowing the CAAA workforce to spend more energy on supporting the warfighter.

“Crane Army’s rail operations allow CAAA to remain strategic and impactful in our abilities to ship and store munitions for the warfighter,” Crane Army Commander Col. Stephen Dondero said. “We cut out the middle man by having the rail system fall under Crane Army and more efficiently get munitions to the men and women in uniform who need them.”

Crane Army’s rail operations increase its storage use to facilities that can only be accessed by rail. This enables CAAA to maximize its use of all storage facilities across the 100-square-mile base.

“CAAA rail operations supports hundreds of magazines and buildings and about 80% of the train accessible magazines can only be accessed by rail,” Crane Army Rail Operations Supervisor Robert England said. “With the capability to retrieve larger amounts of material from the field and deliver it out to any of the four out load facilities, rail operations is essential to our mission.”

Crane Army remains ready to apply surge shipment measures if large quantities of munitions need to be shipped on short notice. CAAA’s several locomotive engines and multitude of rail cars significantly increase CAAA’s capacity to ship larger loads of munitions and alleviate workload pressure on trucks.

“CAAA rail can transport more material to outload facilities compared to heavy ordinance trucks,” England said. “Our trains can also operate in inclement weather like snow and ice where truck transport is reduced or impossible.”

Crane Army’s rail team stays flexible in the face of obstacles in order to provide the men and women in uniform with the support they need.

“The rail operators contribute greatly to readiness and possess extra skills by moving the material handling equipment around on Crane Army’s landscape,” CAAA Depot Operations Director Matt McGowen said. “We have some of the most difficult rail to operate on because of the high curvature of the rail and the grade of our landscape. The skill of our people allow us to get the most use out of the rail system and makes us better prepared to ship and store munitions.”

Crane Army Ammunition Activity produces and provides conventional munitions in support of U.S. Army and Joint Force readiness. It is part of the Joint Munitions Command and 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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