May 11, 2007

Rolling thunder sounds for Multi-Purpose Range Complex dedication

By Sgt. 1st Class Anne Burnley
Maneuver Training Center Public Affairs

Brig. Gen. Eugene A. Stockton, assistant Adjutant General of Virginia, prepares the audience attending the dedication ceremony for the Virginia Army National Guard Multi-Purpose Range Complex at Fort Pickett, Blackstone, Va., on May 9 to hear the "rolling thunder" of armored vehicles firing towards computerized targets. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Anne Burnley, Maneuver Training Center Public Affairs)

FORT PICKETT, Va. – Hundreds of spectators felt the concussion from the blasts of a M1A1 Abrams Tank, an M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle, and two HMMWVs with a mounted 50 Caliber Heavy Barrel Machine Gun and a 40 MM Mark 19 Grenade Launcher during a live-fire exercise as part of the dedication ceremony for the Virginia Army National Guard Multi-Purpose Range Complex on Range 15 at Fort Pickett, Blackstone, Va.

The dedication on May 9 marked the completion of the seven year, $27 million dollar construction project, and the re-opening of Fort Pickett ranges for tank gunnery.

Brig. Gen. Eugene A. Stockton, assistant Adjutant General of Virginia for the Virginia Army National Guard, Col. Robert L. Sparks, garrison commander, and Lt. Col. David B. Weisnicht, director of plans, training, support, opened the dedication with remarks to troops, post employees, government officials, and civilians in attendance.

Planning and development for the MPRC began in 1999. The construction process started in June 2004 and was completed in December 2006.

More than three million cubic yards of earth were moved and six miles of roads constructed for the MPRC. The state-of-the-art, computer-supported range system is one of three similar ranges on National Guard installations at Gowen Field, Idaho and Camp Shelby, Miss. The MPRC at Fort Pickett is the most contemporary.

 

The M1A1 Abrams Tank and M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle move downrange after engaging the enemy in a live-fire exercise conducted during the Multi-Purpose Range Complex Dedication ceremony on May 9. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Anne Burnley, Maneuver Training Center Public Affairs)

 

 

The MPRC has been designed to support gunnery requirements for the M1 Abrams tanks, M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicles, Stryker Fighting Vehicles, HMMWVs, field artillery, and other mounted and aerial gunnery. 

The MPRC also features a staging area with an operations building and a computer lab. 

The MPRC and other construction projects assure that Fort Pickett will continue to provide training support to active and reserve units of the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps as well as various government agencies. 

The MPRC provides state-of-the-art training facilities for seven Army National Guard Brigade Combat Teams from North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee as well as Army, Navy, and Marine active and reserve units from Fort Bragg, Fort Eustis, Fort Lee, Camp Lejuene, Little Creek Naval Amphibious Base, Yorktown Naval Station, and the Oceana Naval Air Station.  The MPRC is a viable asset to the growth of Fort Pickett, the local communities, and our nation’s defense.

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