News: Sister services train on Fort Stewart/HAAF
Story by Sgt. Uriah Walker
FORT STEWART, Ga. – The largest Army base east of the Mississippi – covers nearly 280,000 acres with 124 training areas, 500-plus miles of tank trails, 380 miles of improved roads, 130 live fire facilities, 13 Army airfield training areas, three shoot houses, and a sniper range.
With the vast array of training opportunities available here, it’s understandable that other services would be interested in utilizing some of this acreage. For the Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, our close proximity allows them to conduct training on a regular basis that they would otherwise have to travel to Camp Lejeune for.
“Our home station, we don’t have a large amount of area to go out there and dig in the dirt and do horizontal construction so that makes Fort Stewart an ideal place for the heavy equipment Marines to come down and move large quantities of dirt over a short period of time,” explained Chief Warrant Officer 2 Daniel S. Presley, Marine Wing Support Squadron 273, Engineer Company, Heavy Equipment Platoon commander.
The other training location option for the Marines of MCAS Beaufort is an 18-hour convoy north to Camp Lejeune. The close proximity of Fort Stewart, and the various training assets available here, allow for more time to complete training instead of burning two to three days in a convoy, Presley stated.
He went on to praise the efforts of range control and the rest of the staff involved with their most recent visit to Fort Stewart.
“We had two and a half months worth of planning go out the window due to weather,” shared Presley. “Twelve hours before we were supposed to be here they found us a new site to accommodate our training requirements.”
Along with the horizontal construction platoon’s work on a mock airstrip near the Colmar training area, vertical construction platoon Marines were hard at work performing repairs to buildings in another training village nearby.
Range Control Specialist Paul G. Green explained that the installation’s training areas are available to all branches of our military.
“We’ve had the Navy come up from Kings Bay to conduct small boat training, Engineer Marines from MCAS Beaufort working construction projects, and Air Force with C-130s all here to train,” Green stated. “We have the space here to accommodate training from the squad level all the way up to battalion plus size elements.”
From the deep-water access at HAAF to landing strips and special operations training at Fort Stewart, the installation has the space and equipment to satisfy training requirements to prepare for most any mission.
Fort Stewart is home and host to more than service members from all branches. The swamps and wooded areas surrounding the garrison area is also home to several endangered species to include the Red Cockaded Woodpecker, Indigo Snake, Bald Eagle and Gopher Tortoise.
Special consideration by Range Control, with oversight by the Environmental Protection Agency, has gone into establishing safe havens for these species resulting in healthy populations thriving here in Coastal Georgia.
So far, in fiscal year 2014, there have been 276,000 man-days (each man-day is one solder, guardsman, reservist, sailor or Marine training for one day) of training completed with 210,000 of those being active Army, 12,000 National Guard, 161 Army Reserve, and 19,000 Marine.
Fort Stewart may be home to the Marne Division, but it is also host to every branch of our Military in order to maintain a constant state of readiness.