ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- As part of the Aberdeen Proving Ground, or APG, Centennial celebration, the installation was opened to the local community for a live fire demonstration hosted by the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command's, or ATEC, Aberdeen Test Center, or ATC, May 19-20.The 100th anniversary celebration commemorates when APG, the Army's oldest active proving ground was founded. Established in 1917, APG replaced the proving ground in Sandy Hook, New Jersey, as the Army's premier location for testing weapons and munitions. Maj. Gen. John W. Charlton, ATEC's commander, kicked off the event by welcoming the community and distinguished guests and providing a brief history of the APG installation and ATC."We gather together today to celebrate the extraordinary mission of APG and the contributions of the dedicated men and women who worked here and profoundly impacted the way our wars were fought over the last 100 years," said Charlton.During the parade of tactical and combat military vehicles, the master of ceremonies Wayne Strine, ATC's Combat Vehicles division chief, introduced and explained each type of vehicle as it was driven pass the audience."Tactical vehicles were used to support any and all missions that involved troop or material movement... they were not used as fighting vehicles," Strine said. "Over the years, the vehicles have become more robust and are now fighting machines in their own right."Some of the parade's tactical and combat vehicles were the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled, Assault Amphibious, Joint Light Tactical and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.The audience was treated to the unexpected appearance of a Blackhawk helicopter that descended and then briefly hovered above the crowd before taking off. The Blackhawk has been used in the Army since 1979 for tactical transport. ATC houses two Blackhawks at Phillips Army Airfield which are used for aerial maneuvers such as test support and observation and to assist test ranges with firefighting and spraying for vegetation control.During the live fire demonstration, the loud blast from the Abrams battle tank's cannon could be heard and felt throughout the audience whether standing on the ground or sitting in the bleachers. The Abrams has been the Army's combat fighting force for the past four decades.Two Army snipers wearing ghillie camouflage suits and carrying .50 mm caliber sniper rifles challenged the audience during a sniper demonstration to determine the location of the concealed snipers. The sounds from shots fired at a stationary target helped the audience pinpoint their location.The finale was the Combined Armed Exercise where all the vehicles were fired at the same time."The finale of the event was pretty great," said Patrick Coward, a native from Bel Air who attended the event. "Seeing our force in action meant a lot to me and definitely increased my patriotism."Coward said he knew equipment was being tested on the base but didn't know to what extent.On display were helmets and vests; equipment such as a 50 ton crane and railroad engine; a rigid inflatable and dive boat; and Panthers and Stryker models of military vehicles.Parents and children were able to sit in the vehicles and examine the instrumentation, as well as don the same body armor used by Soldiers in combat."The testing that these men and women do here every day is designed to help the Soldiers come home," said Col. Morris L. Bodrick, the ATC commander. "I ask that those communities around the installation continue to support us [tenants on the APG installation] and what we are doing for this great nation.""We're proud of our past, but we are focused on our future," Bodrick said.