Crane Army fleet to optimize logistics mission

Photo provided by Crane Army
Crane Army Ammunition Activity’s hook trucks are outfitted with Stellar hooks and beds that can be raised and lowered in order to deliver a forklift to magazines and other facilities across the installation. Hook trucks allow depot operations to move materiel without having equipment prepositioned at the magazine by another vehicle or government agency.

By Herald Staff

CRANE — Crane Army Ammunition Activity’s depot operations directorate is rolling out a new generation of support vehicles that will optimize routine logistical operations like transporting munitions and heavy equipment across the installation.

In June, a fleet of 10 large, shiny Stellar hook trucks were delivered to Crane Army with the help of the U.S. Army Reserve’s 370th Transportation Company. Equipped with large hooks and beds that can service any kind of loading dock at a munitions storage magazine, the trucks allow CAAA to be versatile and responsive in providing munitions readiness to the Department of Defense.

“Modernizing our equipment allows us to maintain flexibility to execute operations and offer contingency operation support to the military,” Greg Edwards, supervisory supply management specialist, said. “Having these trucks means we can operate with less equipment overall, but also become more responsive to hot shipments with short lead times.”

Hook trucks are crew vehicles that can lift and transport forklifts — critical equipment for depot operations — as well as tools and crews to service storage magazines that either do not have loading docks or have docks higher or lower than standard truck heights.

Workers at Crane Army are welcoming the upgrades that will replace a current fleet of 2007 model hook trucks that have worked well beyond their life expectancy. In recent years, the older trucks have experienced frequent maintenance issues which causes strain on workers and functional equipment.

Just like the warfighters it supports in the field, CAAA equipment often works more than 40 hours per week and endures difficult terrain and road conditions. Winter road treatments like salt, beet and brine can rust vehicles over time — especially when working with older vehicle models.

“Hook trucks are essential to completing our mission,” Robert England, railroad operations supervisor, said. “We use this equipment so frequently that they spend a lot of hours down. We end up facing mechanical challenges every day.”

In addition to offering the peace of mind that comes with operating a more reliable vehicle, the new trucks come with modified dove tails for forklifts and upgraded features like air ride seats and heated mirrors to make the day’s work a little less strenuous for the crew. Now that the trucks have arrived, the depot operations team is enthusiastic about the impact the upgraded equipment may have on employee morale and Crane Army’s mission.

“Our crew wants to work, but they’re constantly battling unreliable equipment. That can be really disheartening and detrimental to the spirit of the workforce,” said Steve Cummings, logistics management specialist. “This equipment will take a lot of headaches away and give us more confidence in meeting the Army’s mission day-to-day.”

The introduction of hook trucks eliminated the Army’s former reliance on scheduling logistical support from Naval Support Activity, Crane, reducing time and effort needed for each movement of munitions. An organic fleet of modern hook trucks ensures that depot operations can keep materiel moving with their own forklifts and crew and continue the Army’s drive for modernization and efficiency.

“When we have our own forklift on site, we will complete the mission,” Edwards said. By transporting CAAA-owned forklifts to magazines all over the installation, depot operations crews will be totally equipped to execute the Crane Army mission to provide munitions readiness to the warfighter at a moment’s notice.

Toward this goal, CAAA is also expecting a delivery of six road railers before the end of the summer and a brand-new, centrally located shipment receiving facility is nearly operational for the depot operations team. Each modernization effort has been carefully prioritized, planned and executed so the activity can achieve maximum efficiency while also improving safety for the workforce.

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 was established in October 1977 as a subordinate command of Joint Munitions Command and Army Materiel Command.

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