By: Matt Craig, Director of Crane Community Support, Radius Indiana
Naval Support Activity Crane has responded to local and national COVID-19-related needs in unprecedented ways by joining efforts to fight the virus, boost the economy, and assist community members in need. Radius Indiana is proud of NSA Crane’s efforts to support the needs of COVID-19 in our region.
The work at NSA Crane remains imperative for supporting service members around the globe, and mission-critical activities are continuing so that the base can continue to help maintain military readiness. The following efforts are just some of the ways the base is working to maintain operations and support our region.
Keeping employees safe while preserving national security
NSA Crane employs thousands of Hoosiers, and due to the nature of their jobs, many employees are teleworking, and many are still required to come in to work at the installation. In order to protect these essential workers, officials at NSA Crane have taken a number of precautions. Many employees are now working staggered shifts, all individuals are required to wear face coverings, and if any employees test positive for the virus, they will be placed on a type of administrative leave that won’t negatively affect their employment.
Supporting the Red Cross during a severe, statewide blood shortage
Team Crane completed a successful blood drive in March, with employees providing 232 units of blood while maintaining social distancing procedures. Crane employees who are teleworking commuted onsite just to donate blood during the drive. Public health concerns have caused many blood drives at schools and local businesses to close, making the donations from Crane employees critical to helping save patient lives across the county.
Continuing to provide STEM programming to local students
The NSWC Crane Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Program has responded to community needs by putting their programming in a virtual format to continue to provide educational opportunities for students. The program usually provides hands-on learning opportunities through in-person field trips and events, but adapted the program so students can learn problem-solving skills remotely, without access to the lab.
Offering patent licenses to encourage new technologies
Officials at NSWC Crane are offering the laboratory’s patent portfolio of technologies at a reduced cost to lessen the severity of the new coronavirus outbreak and shorten economic recovery. The Technology Transfer Office at NSWC Crane is authorized to negotiate royalty-free patent license agreements with businesses that would use any of its 300+ patented technologies. The lab’s leaders hope that businesses and entrepreneurs will use these technologies to protect American lives during the COVID-19 pandemic and support new jobs and economic growth.
Building capacity at facilities in need
Navy Lt. Miranda L. Bassett, a construction manager for the NSA Crane Public Works Department, deployed to Chicago to help the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers convert spaces into alternate care facilities to provide additional capacity for possible COVID-19 surges, alleviating the strain on area hospitals. Bassett is among a select group of engineers, health care workers and emergency responders going into hot zones to help.
Producing critical materials to support supply chains
Several of the Army’s depots, arsenals and ammunition plants, including Crane Army Ammunition Activity, are assisting in the response to COVID-19. Crane Army is repurposing raw materials to produce and distribute hand sanitizer. Within days, they designed and assembled a sanitizer manufacturing line drawing on their expertise in munitions production. The line has proven successful and is ready for full-rate production, allowing Crane Army to help protect workers while also supporting an overburdened supply system to get a critical product into the hands of the professionals that need it.