Photo courtesy of Crane Army
Crane Army Ammunition Activity’s hooklifts are equipped with Stellar hooks and beds that can be raised and lowered to take a forklift truck to magazines and other facilities throughout the installation. Hooklifts allow depot operators to move material without the need to preposition equipment on the magazine from another vehicle or government agency.

From Herald Staff

CRANE – The Depot Operations division of Crane Army Ammunition Activity is introducing a new generation of escort vehicles that will streamline routine logistical operations such as moving ammunition and heavy equipment through the facility.

In June, with the help of the US Army Reserve’s 370th Transportation Company, a fleet of 10 large, shiny Stellar hooklifts was delivered to the Crane Army. Equipped with large hooks and beds that can serve any type of loading ramp on an ammunition storage magazine, the trucks allow the CAAA to be versatile and responsive in providing ammunition to the Department of Defense.

“Upgrading our equipment allows us to maintain the flexibility to conduct operations and support the military in emergency operations,” said Greg Edwards, supervisory supply management specialist. “With these trucks, we can work with less equipment overall, but also react faster to hot shipments with short lead times.”

Hook lifts are crew vehicles that can lift and move forklifts – critical equipment for depot operations – as well as tools and crews for servicing storage magazines that either do not have loading ramps or docks higher or lower than standard truck heights.

Crane Army employees appreciate the upgrades that will replace a current fleet of 2007 hooklifts that have performed well beyond their life expectancy. In recent years, the older trucks have experienced frequent maintenance issues that put a strain on workers and functional equipment.

Just like the fighter jets it supports in the field, CAAA equipment often works more than 40 hours a week and can withstand difficult terrain and road conditions. Winter road treatments such as salt, beets and brine can rust vehicles over time – especially when working with older vehicle models.

“Hook wagons are essential to the fulfillment of our mission,” said Robert England, director of rail operations. “We use these devices so often that they are in use for many hours. In the end, we face mechanical challenges every day. “

The new trucks not only offer the safety that comes with a more reliable vehicle, but also with modified dovetails for forklifts and improved features like air seats and heated mirrors to make daily work a little less strenuous for the crew. Now that the trucks have arrived, the depot operations team is excited about the impact the upgraded equipment can have on staff morale and the Crane Army’s mission.

“Our crew wants to work, but is constantly struggling with unreliable equipment. It can be very discouraging and harmful for employees, ”said Steve Cummings, logistics management specialist. “This equipment will take away a lot of headaches and give us more confidence to carry out the daily mission of the army.”

The introduction of hook carts eliminated the Army’s previous reliance on planning logistical support from Naval Support Activity, Crane, reducing the time and labor required for each ammunition move. An organic fleet of modern hooklifts ensures that the depot operation with its own forklift and its own crew can keep the material moving and continue the modernization and efficiency push of the army.

“When we have our own forklift on site, we will complete the mission,” said Edwards. By transporting CAAA’s own forklifts to magazines throughout the facility, the operations teams of the depot are fully equipped to carry out the crane army’s mission to provide ammunition to the war fighters at any time.

In order to achieve this goal, CAAA expects the delivery of six freight wagons before the end of summer and a brand new, centrally located receiving system for the shipments is almost ready for the depot’s operations team. Every modernization measure has been carefully prioritized, planned and carried out so that the activity can achieve maximum efficiency while improving safety for employees.

Crane Army Ammunition Activity ships, stores, demilitarizes, and produces conventional ammunition in support of the U.S. Army and Joint Force readiness. It serves as the Army’s second largest ammunition depot and houses about a quarter of the US Department of Defense’s conventional ammunition. CAAA was established in October 1977 as a subordinate command of the Joint Munitions Command and Army Material Command.