JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- Two congressional staff members visited here March 17 to see the various ranges and training sites on base.

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst spans more than 20 miles east to west and is home to more than 80 mission partners who provide a wide range of combat capability.

"It's important for them to see Soldiers training in a tough, realistic battlefield environment and bring that back to their senators so they can get an understanding of the future of the joint base," said Col. Martin Klein, U.S. Army Support Activity Fort Dix commander and deputy commander for Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

Sophia Lalani, Defense and Foreign Policy advisor to U.S. Senator Cory Booker, and Keith Roachford, Special Projects director at the Office of U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, spent the day in briefings, visited 78th Training Division Soldiers in the field, sat in on medical training and ended at the dismounted Soldier training system.

Lalani and Roachford were also treated to an aerial tour on a UH-60 Blackhawk before having lunch at the dining facility with Klein and other personnel from ASA Fort Dix and the U.S. Army Reserve's 99th Regional Support Command.

Klein led most of the day's tour, following a morning briefing from Maj. Gen. Scottie Dean Carpenter, commanding general of the U.S. Army Reserve's 84th Training Command. Carpenter spoke about Warrior Exercise 78-17-01, which runs through the end of March and is being held here.

Warrior Exercises are designed to prepare units to be combat-ready by immersing them in scenarios where they train as they would fight. Roughly 60 units from the U.S. Army Reserve, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and other components are participating in the WAREX.

"JBMDL is within 350 miles of 22 percent of the Army Reserve force. We end up training about 153,000 personnel during the course of the year," said Klein.

"I really got some jewels from this visit," said Lalani. "I was blown away by the 153-thousand number."

"I was surprised they get that many folks through here," said Roachford.

The joint base is one of the largest employers in New Jersey - the only other entity employing more is the State of New Jersey. Service members and their family members living and working on and around JBMDL contribute to an overall economic impact of $6.9 billion to the State of New Jersey.