By Maranda FlynnApril 11, 2014
More than 200 people gathered to celebrate the U.S. Army Electronic Proving Ground's 60th anniversary during two separate events on Tuesday.
In the morning, a ceremony was held at the Intelligence Systems Integration Laboratory, Fort Huachuca, where a cake cutting was conducted and officials described EPG?'s role in the fort's history.
Founded in 1877, Fort Huachuca temporarily closed on two different occasions -- once in 1947 and again in 1953. Under operational control of the Army's chief signal officer, Maj. Gen. George Back, it was EPG's mission to "test, prove, explore and evaluate systems and devices utilizing the electron," that was the driving force that reopened the fort in 1954.
Maj. Gen. Peter Utley, commanding general, U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, or USATEC, attended the events as a keynote speaker. USATEC is the headquarters for EPG.
"It is truly an honor to be here to help celebrate 60 years of test excellence," Utley said. "We're commemorating the Electronic Proving Ground's years of important work and wide variety of disciplines which have enabled the Army to communicate using a variety of ways and means, and to defend itself from our opponents' attempt to deny or exploit our ability to communicate.
"We have come a long, long way regarding the systems and equipment that are available to our Soldiers, especially when compared to what we had available to us in the past."
Today, EPG is the "recognized and preferred Center of Excellence for Network, Electronic Warfare and Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance test and evaluation across the Department of Defense," according to the website, www.epg.army.mil.
Between events, EPG staff led guests on a tour of the proving ground's facilities.
Following the tour, guests gathered at the Antenna Test Facility located north of State Route 90, for the dedication of the newly built small arc.
The Antenna Test Facility, as explained by Doug Kremer, Antenna Test Facility manager, has some of the most interesting testing structures in the world.
"Today we are dedicating our newest capability, a 15-meter radius arc range," Kremer said. "The capability is being added to the Electronic Proving Ground as part of the extensive modernization effort to upgrade the Antenna Test Facilities that started three years ago by funding provided by the Army's Test and Evaluation Center.
"The new design eliminates much of the disadvantages discovered over the past 45 years from testing on the larger arc. It allows EPG to expand its testing capability and decrease the cost of its testing."
Rudy Nunez, representing Congressman Ron Barber, read a proclamation regarding EPG's importance to Fort Huachuca, which was submitted to the Congressional Record on Tuesday.
Closing out the ceremony, Utley said, "The arc may be small but its impact is nothing of the sort. Technological advances of today's Army are profound and are evolving at a very rapid pace. As we celebrate this new capability of the Electronic Proving Ground, let us remember the work we do is for the Soldiers who are on point for our nation."
After the ribbon cutting, guests enjoyed refreshments and toured the facility's testing structures.
During both events, Pastor Randy Youngblood, Thunder Mountain Community Church, provided the invocation; Saige Larry, Miss Sierra Vista, sang the national anthem; and the Buena High School Show Band provided the music.