By Joan Kibler, Afghanistan Engineer-South Public AffairsJanuary 16, 2011
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - In a ribbon-cutting ceremony held Jan. 8, the 207th Corps of the Afghan National Army and its partners celebrated the completion of the first Corps training range complex built in Afghanistan.
The training range complex - located at Camp Zafar, Herat in western Afghanistan - is the first of five being constructed for the ANA, according to Maj. Mark A. Lukasavich, NATO Training Mission -Afghanistan/Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, Engineer staff.
"The range complex accommodates training for all weapons systems within the ANA Corps," Lukasavich said. "It includes eight specialized ranges for the 207th Corps to qualify and train its soldiers."
Working with NTM-A/CSTC-A, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Afghanistan Engineer District-South (AES) awarded the $5.8 million contract to Omran Consulting, Construction and Engineering Company, an Afghan firm.
"This is the first completed Corps training range complex in the country, and the ANA is excited to have it," said Jennifer Zimmerman, ANA project manager, AES. "It's a great opportunity for them and for us to set the precedent for construction of ranges."
Attendees at the ceremony included Brig. Gen. Mohaidin Ghori, chief of staff, 207th Corps; Col. Anthony C. Funkhouser, commander, AES; Col. Bradley Booth, commander, Regional Support Command-West; Mahmoud Baligh, vice president, Omran; and other distinguished guests from Camp Zafar and the surrounding area. Also attending were ANA, coalition, NTM-A/CSTC-A, and AES personnel.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony for the training range complex followed a ceremony on the same day for an addition to the ANA hospital for the 207th Corps. The hospital addition also was constructed by Omran.
"General Ghori was extremely pleased with the use of an Afghan contractor and with all the Afghan nationals who contributed their talents to completion of these projects," Funkhouser said. "He commended the Corps of Engineers and Omran for helping to build capacity in this country."
The ranges support training for hand grenade familiarization, rifle (with 25 lanes), pistol, heavy machine gun, rocket-propelled grenade, and mortar. Two additional areas allow soldiers to train in urban assault: fire and movement and modified urban combat operations.
The complex also includes the main ROCA building, where soldiers drill and show, and an unexploded ordinance demolition pit with bunker to support the range complex and demolition training.
The construction contract was awarded in June 2009, and the complex was completed ahead of schedule, Zimmerman said. Omran has averaged 255 workers on site daily, plus subcontractors.
Lukasavich said that "the training requirements went through many iterations and reviews with the ANA, the mentors and advisors to the ANA, and range experts. The ANA Corps kandaks (battalion-size bases) are getting the same range complex with adjustments to each location."
The other four locations are for the 209th Corps at Mazar-e Sharif, the 203rd Corps at Gardez, the 201st Corps at Gamberi, and the 205th Corps at Shorabak, Lukasavich said. The location for the 205th Corps training range in Kandahar is planned for the future.
AES is constructing small arms ranges at Camp Shorabak, Shindand, and Camp Hero, as well as another Corps training range at Camp Shorabak.