August 1, 2018
CRANE, Ind. - Logistics Management Specialist Lance Shirley has been working at Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane) since before he graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Informatics. He went from shredding papers his first week as an intern to his work today, a complex role requiring collaboration with the Mobile Technology and Repair Complex (MTRC) and Rapid Innovation and Prototyping Laboratory (RIPL).
“I’ve worked in labs, cubicles, hangars, metal shops, insulated shipping containers and even spent a day at a firing range in Lebanon,” said Shirley. “It has been pretty fun so far, to say the least!”
Shirley deployed for MTRC early in his career, and he’s done so multiple times. He said it’s given him new insight into what supporting the warfighter means. The MTRC provides timely and responsive means, to Repair, Modify, and Enhance current capabilities of SOF systems and sub-systems as well as Design, Engineer, and Fabricate new equipment to increase the lethality and survivability of SOF operators worldwide.
“I bet technicians here assembled many of the weapons I saw the military carrying out there,” he said. “I definitely came home with a bigger appreciation for my job and country. I like working at NSWC Crane because I’ve seen the end result of a lot of the work that goes on here.”
He recalled seeing Huey and Cobra helicopters fly over his shop on Camp Leatherneck, which made him personally thankful for the Airborne Electro-Optics H-1 group where he started his career.
“Some of the Forward Operating Bases I’ve been to had Ground-Based Operational Surveillance System (GBOSS) towers that kept watch off base so we could sleep easier at night,” he said. GBOSS is an expeditionary, camera-oriented tool that provides a 24-hour day/night detection, tracking, and recording capability to disrupt insurgent emplacement and employment of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Lance’s recent position had him completing an array of different tasks as the training and logistics manager for the MTRC and RIPL classes while his coworker was overseas. Lance scheduled classes, found instructors, taught some classes, submitted timecards, purchased and moved equipment, shipped and received material, coordinated use of RIPL facilities, forklift operations, and general building upkeep.
“I just want to do everything I can so MTRC and the RIPL continue to grow and produce better and better projects for our men and women down range,” he said. “They deserve the best.”
Although Shirley’s desire to serve the warfighter has remained constant, the capacity in which he’s done so has not. He’s bounced around NSWC Crane, working as a logistician, technician, deployed engineer representative, task lead, field service representative (FSR), and training manager.
Shirley said his path to this job was filled with good luck, good timing, and great role models.
“One of the keys to success is not being afraid to ask questions and lean on other people for help and guidance,” said Shirley. “That’s how you learn and are able to help other people out down the road. I’ve found that my career field is less about being an expert at one specific thing and more about knowing who the expert resources are around me.”
NSWC Crane is a naval laboratory and a field activity of NAVSEA with mission areas in Expeditionary Warfare, Strategic Missions and Electronic Warfare. NSWC Crane is responsible for multi-domain, multi- spectral, full life cycle support of technologies and systems enhancing capability to today’s warfighter.