Crane Naval Base opened its doors for an inside look at the production of ammunition


Click. Bang. Freedom.

In order to keep our country safe and free, we need to fully stock our military with ammunition.

Workers at Crane Army Ammunition Activity are the first line of defense for our country.

“We’re the last eyes. So that when the warfighter gets it they don’t have no questions. And as my shirt says, click, bang, freedom,” said Jessica Cheeley, a Quality Assurance Specialist in Ammunition Surveillance. “When they open it up when they hit that trigger it does what it’s supposed to do and goes bang to ensure our freedom.” 

Ammunition needs to be checked for functionality, quality and safety during storage before it can even be given to a soldier.

“To me it’s very important that what I look at goes to the soldiers and it is successful,” said Ammunition Inspector Paul Mizell. “Because their life depends on our quality of inspection.”

Crane has been supporting the military since 1941 when it was a Naval Ammunition Depot.

Now, in partnership with the US Army, Crane is insuring the storage, distribution, demilitarization and production of bombs and munition.

“It feels really good and we have a lot of pride in what we do here,” said David Peel, Project Engineer for Crane Army Ammunition Activity.

No amount of munition goes to waste at Crane, even old bombs are renovated and shipped to the US Navy.

“They’re put back in brand new condition,” said Peel. “So they’re in the exact same condition as a brand new bomb would be off of a brand new line.”

Crane’s current bomb renovation project will last for another five months.

And by renovating bombs from the 1990’s the facility has saved taxpayers a total of 1.56 million dollars over the past month.

“What we’re doing today is a Mark84 which is a 2,000 pound bomb. And those cost between ten to twelve thousand dollars,” said Peel. “So we’re doing those for, depending on what flavor we have to do, for less than 2,000 dollars.”

However not every piece of munition is usable. 

So to ensure the safety of workers and the community, the devalued munition has to be demilitarized either by burial or by burning.

“We start a fire in the morning. That white building on the hill has a conveyor that comes outside the building,” said Mickey Wager, Burning Grounds Supervisor. “The employees are inside the building and they’re feeding the line. That material goes down the conveyor belt and drops down into a fire that’s going all day long.”

At the end of the day, the safety of workers and the environment are always put first.

Tests are regularly performed on the bases air, water and soil

“A lot of us here on base live around the base. We raise our families around here. We hunt in the area we fish in the area and it’s something we’re really proud of,” said Crane Army Environmental Coordinator Brooks Proctor “And the last thing any of us want is to do something that would negatively impact the pristine environment that we live in.”

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