New Fort Bragg training ground keeps troops closer to home

Michael Lozano Image
Thursday, September 12, 2019
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New Fort Bragg training ground keeps troops closer to home

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WTVD) -- A $45 million aerial gunnery range is helping service members at Fort Bragg stay closer to home instead of looking elsewhere for training.

The 700-acre site allows troops to qualify on a number of military equipment including the M240H machine gun and the UH-60M Black Hawk helicopter.

Major Joy Nickel, a pilot in the 1-82nd Attack Reconnaissance Battalion in the 82nd Airborne Division, oversees the operations in the new area. She said that they can create unique scenarios for pilots.

Those scenarios are created with the use of targets, firing points, and observation towers with cameras.

"Fully automated targets, which are integrated into the computers behind you, which can show the exact location of every round fired," Installation Range Officer Wolf Amacker said.

The major perk with this new addition, according to Amacker, is the elimination of travel. In the past, aviators have had to travel to other military bases throughout the Southeast for training.

Ammunition Specialist Jessica Martinez said this new method allows more time to prepare.

"It makes our job a little easier, a lot less stressful. And of course, we get to go home so we get to enjoy our families a little bit," Martinez said.

Amacker says the hefty price tag will pay for itself in the next 10 years.

"Based on the amount of money they would spend going somewhere else and doing that training. And the time and money in both resource and parts that they're going to save here," Amacker said.