CRANE – The thick woods on the Crane navy base were full of cries of determination, perseverance and laughter this summer as it played host to dozens of Indiana students learning the value of teamwork and leadership.
Crane Army and Navy combined resources in their Science Technology Engineering and Math programs in order to sponsor four Indiana Navy Junior ROTC units participating in a week-long basic leadership training course with a STEM element July 21-25 at Naval Support Activity Crane.
Thirty-eight students from Anderson, Washington, Bloomfield and Pike Central high schools gathered at Crane Army Ammunition Activity’s reserve compound for a week of barrack inspections; personnel inspections; orienteering (land navigation); brain brawl about flag etiquette, chain of command, military time, general orders, fire fighting training, watch standing, physical fitness competition, and STEM sessions including the LEGO Mindstorms Robots.
According to Navy Capt. (ret.) Neil May, Senior Naval Science Instructor for Washington High School NJROTC, the event came about through the increasing awareness of what Crane was about. He said, “The NJROTC units previously took part in a basic leadership training event in Marseilles Ill. with hundreds of kids and it was very expensive to get the kids up there. So several of the instructors who supported that event said, wouldn’t it be nice to come down here and use this facility (at Crane), save a lot of money and invest that into the kids instead of losing it to logistical costs. So we started communicating with the base commander, Cmdr. (James) Stewart. The moons just aligned.”
Last year the units did SeaPerch on the base sponsored through Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane, STEM program. Following the event, the NJROTC instructors thought it would be even better if they could combine the basic leadership training with the STEM training. Through CAAA sponsoring the use of its reserve compound and NSWC sponsoring the STEM robotics competition, the NJROTC leadership were able to create a week-long environment of basic leadership training and STEM.