Small Arms Ranges
Since 2006 the Massachusetts National Guard (MANG) has worked with its regulatory partners through the Small Arms Range Working Group (SARWG) to bring small arms live fire training back to Camp Edwards. The main priorities for this effort were to provide small arms training to Soldiers that are required to qualify annually with small arms and to do so in a fashion that is compatible with protecting the resources of the Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve/the Camp Edwards Training Area..
The SARWG provides input and direction for Best Management Practices (BMPs), detailed range designs, pollution prevention plans, community involvement opportunities, and the investigation and remediation of specific small arms ranges. The SARWG includes representatives from Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, the Environmental Protection Agency Region 1, the Environmental Management Commission, and the Massachusetts National Guard’s Environmental & Readiness Center and the Impact Area Groundwater Study Program.
Active Small Arms Ranges:
The current active small arms ranges on Camp Edwards are Tango, Juliet, Kilo, Sierra, India, and Lima ranges.
The first ranges to “go hot” were Tango, Juliet and Kilo Ranges in 2007 and 2009. These ranges are 25 meter ranges that are fitted with a bullet trap system that captures lead projectiles. Tango, Juliet and Kilo Ranges are used to train Soldiers in marksmanship proficiency.
The next ranges approved were India (2013) and Sierra Ranges (2012). India range is a zeroing range where Soldiers train on the skills necessary to align the sights on their weapons and practice basic marksmanship techniques against stationary targets. Sierra Range is a 300 meter pop-up qualification range or an Automated Record of Fire (ARF) Range used to qualify Soldiers in marksmanship proficiency.
These ranges are copper bullet only ranges where the Department of Defense’s Enhanced Performance Round (EPR) is used exclusively. Camp Edwards is the first Army Post in the United States to use the EPR rounds for training.
In 2012, the return to live firing on Lima Range using the M781 40mm Training Round was approved.
The M781 is a practice grenade that is fired as a projectile composed of a hollow plastic “windshield” filled with Day-Glo-Orange marking powder--in other words, a giant paint ball. The initial firing of the M781 40mm Training Round occurred in 2013. Lima Range is used to train and test individual Soldiers on the skills necessary to engage and defeat stationary target emplacements with the 40mm grenade launcher.
Echo Range is an Automated Combat Pistol/Military Police Qualification Course used to train and test Soldiers marksmanship and proficiency with pistols, consisting of 15 lanes with seven pop-up targets per lane staggered across the firing lanes at varying distances.
During 2014-2015, Camp Edwards initiated internal actions to finish work begun on Echo Range in 2006 to upgrade it for use with lead ammunition. The preliminary work included conducting a line of site analysis, test firing, and the development of a scope and contract for range design modification and management plan that will be protective of the resources of the Camp Edwards Training Area/Upper Cape Water Supply Reserve. All work will be conducted in coordination with the SARWG. Next steps for this critical training range are to receive approval of the design and operation, maintenance, and monitoring plan for the range. Then once construction is complete (2017) live firing on Echo Range can proceed.
During 2015, Camp Edwards initiated a planning process to pursue using KD Range as a Multipurpose Machine Gun Range (MPMG) where Soldiers train and qualify with automatic weapons. As part of the preliminary planning process, Camp Edwards conducted a test fire at KD Range on August 14, 2015, to simulate noise from the proposed MPMG Range. This preliminary noise test was conducted to determine if the range would be compliant with the Department of the Army’s noise standards for range development. The target year for developing this critical range is 2020.
Pyrotechnics are critical training tools for Soldiers. These devices provide for the realism in training required to train Soldiers as they fight. They are used to simulate battlefield noises and effects during training. Pyrotechnics help to create the confusion of war where life and death decisions need to be made at a moment’s notice. Realistic training is a critical component of soldier training, and factors that create realism—smoke, dust, noise, and pressure—all help create the confusion associated with realistic battle conditions. Many of the tasks that soldiers are required to train on prior to deployment concentrate on reaction to contact. Combat contact normally takes the form of an explosion from either indirect fire or an improvised explosive device (IED). Pyrotechnics can be used to simulate IEDs, which have caused 80 percent of the US casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The first of these devices approved for use at Camp Edwards was the M116A1 Hand Grenade Simulator. This device was approved in 2010. It is truly just a simulator in that it in no means represents what a hand grenade looks or feels like. To that end, in 2013 the Massachusetts National Guard was granted approval to use the M69 Hand Grenade Simulator on Camp Edwards. The M69 provides realistic training and familiarizes Soldiers with the functioning of a fragmentation hand grenade. The average Soldier can throw the M69 approximately 40 meters (131 feet). After a delay of four to five seconds, the M69 emits a small puff of white smoke and makes a popping noise. The grenade bodies are reused repeatedly by replacing the fuse assembly. Camp Edwards developed a Standard Operating Procedure and Course Management Plan for the M69 Hand Grenade Simulator, approved by the Environmental Management Commission in 2014. The plan allows for maximum effective use of the M69 Hand Grenade Simulator with the M288 Fuse in the Camp Edwards Training Areas and on the Hand Grenade Qualification Course while abiding by training and environmental guidelines. Use of the M69 Hand Grenade Simulator began in September 2014.
In 2016 Camp Edwards received approval to utilize the Percussion Actuated Neutralizer (PAN). The PAN is a device used by Explosive Ordnance Device Soldiers to remotely disable explosive devices, such as IEDs. To disable IEDs, the PAN fires projectiles or water using a blank round, shock tube, and an electronic initiator. At Camp Edwards, Soldiers will train with this device using only blank ammunition or water. Camp Edwards plans to train with the PAN in the Cantonment area adjacent to the Explosive Ordnance Device building, at Calero Mobile Military Operations on Urban Terrain Site, and on the Soldier Validation Lane in the Reserve.
Points of Contact for Questions and/or Further Information:
Massachusetts National Guard Environmental & Readiness Center
Michael Ciaranca, Deputy Director
Environmental Management Commission
Len Pinaud, MassDEP, Acting EMC Environmental Officer
US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 1
USEPA MMR Team Member