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Crane Army Celebrates Long Legacy of Serving the Warfighter

For 80 years hardworking Hoosiers here have diligently supported the defense of our nation through many wars and conflicts. Crane Army Ammunition Activity is proud of its role in this legacy of service and has faithfully provided munitions to our men and women in uniform whenever and wherever needed following its own founding in 1977.

Since being established and assuming the mission of providing munitions readiness to all the services, Crane Army played a major role in supplying warfighters with the materials they needed to succeed overseas during wide-ranging hostilities such as the Gulf War, the Bosnian War and the War on Terror.

“The exceptional ability of our people to meet the urgent needs of the warfighter sets Crane Army apart,” said CAAA Deputy to the Commander Norm Thomas, who has worked with Crane Army for 38 years. “They go out and excel at it every day. Every one of them steps up and handles their duties with passion.”

“I find it very fulfilling to know what we do at Crane Army supports our warfighters and protects our country,” said Vickie McKibben, the lead depot operations supply system analyst for CAAA. “It has been rewarding to see folks over the years come here and grow and learn about how much we do for the warfighter and realize they’re contributing to the security of our nation.”

For example, CAAA employees worked tirelessly to meet the short deadlines required by surging troops during Desert Storm in 1991. During the Gulf War Crane Army was responsible for supplying nearly 50,000 tons of ammunition and shipped hundreds of rail and truck loads over a short period of time.

“We had a big push in our ability to get materials out the door and items out for shipment, but we didn’t just meet the deadline,” Thomas said. “We simultaneously improved our out-loading processes as we shipped munitions out, resulting in an incredible revitalization in the face of a challenge.”

Ten years later Crane Army also reorganized its production and demilitarization missions under a new manufacturing and engineering directorate. The manufacturing and engineering workforce has since found new and innovative ways to produce, demilitarize and refurbish munitions and conventional ammunition for the Army. Manufacturing and engineering is currently involved in a range of projects from the production and renovation of pyrotechnic flares, bombs, artillery, charges and bursters to demilitarization processes where munitions are destroyed in ways that preserve materials so they can be recycled or reused. These salvaged materials can sometimes be put to immediate use like in CAAA’s white phosphorous plant where rounds are converted to phosphoric acid.

“My work finding and brainstorming ways to safely destroy or take apart unserviceable munitions, and working with other engineers to make them come to life, makes it so that the storage space we have can be filled up with usable munitions,” said Robin Hart, a planner and estimator for manufacturing and engineering who has worked with CAAA since 1980. “Through our demilitarization we can make a difference in funding too. I have seen how jobs get funded and equipment is purchased based on the recycling we are able to do.”

CAAA proved its dedication once again in 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. CAAA temporarily shut down production lines so that employees from all directorates could focus solely on shipping munitions to support the mission. Crane Army employees worked around the clock, seven days a week, until the mission was complete to ensure the thousands of tons of munitions Crane Army supplied were in the hands of the warfighter when they needed to be.

“During Operation Iraqi Freedom we supported several missions but during one in particular, uniformed soldiers came and worked side by side with our folks,” McKibben said. “To see them working side by side in the cold and the dark and doing what it took to get the munitions ready to go out; it was inspiring and it sticks out in my mind as one of my favorite memories.”

CAAA has a proven history of delivering unmatched munitions when they are needed but Crane Army has never stopped looking forward for more ways it can help the warfighter succeed. Crane Army remembers and respects its past but continues to modernize to determine the most efficient ways of providing the best possible munitions in the years ahead.

“We are going to see a focus on modernization,” Thomas said. “There’s this incredible appetite to fund and pursue modernization, not just in our amazing facilities, processes and equipment, but in the people that make Crane Army the unmatched force that it is.”

The most significant factor in Crane Army’s storied history is the hardworking men and women who have contributed to its mission and continue to make it what it is today. Their dedication to their nation and to each other has and will continue to make CAAA one of the premier munitions providers for our armed forces.

“People ask me why I stay and all I can tell them is I love what I do and I love who I work with,” said Hart. “The relationships I have with my team are so important.”

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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1977 (Click on Photo Above for more Info)

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Robert E. Lee, II, Memorial Scholarship Applications due April 5, 2021

The Lawrence County Community Foundation (LCCF), a Partner in the Community Foundation Partnership, Inc., is currently accepting applications for the Robert E. Lee, II, Memorial Scholarship.

Applications are open to graduating seniors of Bedford North Lawrence High School who have been accepted by a post-secondary program. Students must be active in their school and/or community and be deserving of financial assistance. Application can be found www.cfpartner.org. The deadline for completed applications is April 5, 2021, 3 p.m.

The Robert E. Lee, II, Memorial Scholarship was established to honor the memory of a vital member of the Lawrence County community.  As a local businessman, County Coroner, volunteer, husband, father, and friend, Robert Lee embodied a uniquely open and generous spirit that touched many lives.

Robert’s untiring work in and for the Bedford community is legendary.  He donated his time and talents to youth organizations, service clubs, and local committees and boards with boundless, positive energy with the belief that the greatest gift you can give another is to make them feel good about themselves.  Robert’s voracious appetite for life, his genuine concern for friends and neighbors, his sense of adventure, and his integrity, made him so dearly loved by his family, friends and community.

In that spirit, the Robert E. Lee II Memorial Scholarship seeks to recognize a young person who embodies a similar ethic and has demonstrated a willingness to serve others.

Lawrence County Tourism
2021 Grant Program Deadline Approaching

Lawrence County Tourism is pleased to announce the continuation of a successful grant program that will provide funding to Lawrence County attractions, festivals and events. The program encourages the development of events that will contribute positively to the growth of tourism in the area. Completed grant applications will be accepted through January 31, 2021. Applicants must be organizations seeking to produce and promote a well-defined tourism-oriented attraction, festival or event within the boundaries of Lawrence County.

These funds are meant to help qualified organizations promote tourism activities that will directly increase hotel occupancy and create a positive economic impact for Lawrence County. The guidelines focus on four main points: the ability to draw visitors from outside of Lawrence County, the potential for growth of the event, generation of overnight stays, and the potential for food and beverage sales throughout the community. Grant applications will be judged by a committee of Lawrence County Tourism Commission staff and Board of Directors based on criteria outlined in the application materials. Grant application deadline will be January 31, 2021 for events taking place later in the year.

“Lawrence County Tourism has distributed over $300,000 in funds to local attractions and event organizers since 1994,” says Tonya Chastain, Executive Director of Lawrence County Tourism. “It’s helping our attractions, festivals and events attract more and more visitors, and drawing attention to Lawrence County and the outstanding resources in our community.”

Grant applications are available at the Lawrence County Visitors Center located at 533 W Main St. in Mitchell. Anyone with questions about the program may contact Lawrence County Tourism Executive Director Tonya Chastain, 812-849-1090, tchastain@limestonecountry.com.