By Capt. Ernesto Lopez, 4th BCT, 1st Cav. Div. Public AffairsJanuary 12, 2010
FORT HOOD, Texas - What started out as a simple discussion between various Fort Hood leaders during a routine range-orientation walk through literally turned into a ground breaking decision this past summer.
The III Corps and Fort Hood Deputy Commanding General, Brig. Gen. William Grimsley, Col. Brian Winski, the commander of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division 'Long Knife,' and the installation's Chief Range Control Operations Officer, Eric Harmon, decided to build a small-arms training facility that would be "owned" by the Long Knife brigade.
Winski described how the idea was born.
"Discussions resulted in a proposal that several ranges along South-Range Road be transformed into brigade-level, 25-meter flat ranges," said Winski.
Capt. Matthew Makaryk, commander, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment took on the mission of turning what was once a shotgun/pistol range into a 25-meter flat range. The range would be immediately available to any unit in the brigade, similar to the flat ranges on combat outposts and forward operating bases in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"Fort Hood ranges are excellent and capable of supporting all training, however the ability to have a range this close to main post has many benefits," Makaryk said. "Our Soldiers can walk 1.5 miles from their company areas to the range, execute training and walk back in one duty day."
According to the BCT S3, Maj. Monte Rone, "this facility will go a long way towards enabling Long Knife troopers to master those fundamental small-unit skills that are essential for success in combat."
Before the Soldiers are combat ready, each unit will utilize the complex to qualify on their assigned pistols, rifles and various short range marksmanship techniques.
"Soldiers can train at any time without any scheduling conflicts," said Greg Simpson, the Fort Hood Range Control Operations Officer. "I hope it's beneficial for the unit; it has no real impact on the rest of Fort Hood."
The complex is the first of its kind on Fort Hood, which allows a unit to have operational control over a training facility.
"It's an honor to be given the chance to build something on Fort Hood that wasn't there before, Makaryk said. "I told the engineer platoon that was building it ... 50 years from now when you drive by the range, you can tell stories about the time you built something that many did not believe could be done."
Makaryk stated, initial estimates indicated the project would cost nearly $200,000 and take approximately 47 days to complete. "We did it in 15 days for $2,600," he added.
The range was completed in November 2009 and is used daily by the Long Knife brigade.
According to Winski, this range complex will be a tremendous combat multiplier at the platoon level and below.
"This range is an available training resource that gives our small unit leaders a critical tool to train their warriors on short range marksmanship/CQM, alternate firing position exercises and stress shoots," said Winski. "We are empowering our platoon leaders and platoon sergeants who are now able to use the Long Knife range to accomplish their training objectives and ensure their troopers are masters of their weapons and are lethal warriors."