Military News

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Hawaii Air National Guard unveils new indoor shooting range

by Senior Airman Orlando Corpuz
154th Wing Public Affairs


8/10/2015 - JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- The Hawaii Air National Guard debuted its new indoor live-fire shooting range in a ceremony here Aug. 8.

The new 6000 square foot unit located on the grounds of the Hawaii Air National Guard gives the HIANG a capability it's never had before; the ability to qualify and train its Airmen in small arms fire and prepare them for deployments in-house.

"Small arms qualifications was conducted at the only USAF firing range on the island, which happens to be located approximately twenty miles away on Schofield Barracks" said  Maj. Dane Minami, 154th Security Forces Squadron Commander. "The HIANG had to compete for scheduling of the firing range with both the Active Duty and the Reserves and because we did not own the range, we normally had low priority."

According to Minami, in addition to improving readiness capability, benefits include cost savings due to the reduction in the resources and manpower previously needed to coordinate, schedule and transport airmen to an off-site firing range.

"For a traditional Guardsman, time during drill weekends is a precious commodity. Having an indoor firing range right here in our own backyard saves time, money, and gas for our unit members and all Hawaii Air National Guard personnel with weapons qualification requirements" said Minami. "The ability to schedule live-firing at any time of the day and night or week, will allow us to more effectively support the entire organization with short notice deployment and annual qualification requirements."

The Modular Containerized Small Arms Training Sets as its name implies, utilizes a prefabricated and modular design concept. Prefabrication of the units was done by a company in Nevada and then shipped to the Hawaii Air National Guard where it was assembled on an empty asphalt area on the HIANG's compound.  Because of this, many of the pre-construction costs, such as engineering, architecture, and site prep were minimized. Its modular design allows it to be disassembled and moved to another location should the need arise.

The MCSATS has twelve shooting lanes and is fully enclosed with heating, ventilation, and cooling systems. Everything from target control to shooting environment is monitored and adjusted from a master control room.  Depending on the training requirements, lighting systems can simulate low light or night time shooting conditions and an automated target retrieval system makes feedback to the shooter timely and convenient.

The ceremony which included a traditional Hawaiian blessing with Ti leaves and Hawaiian salt signified the range's first official day of operation and was the culmination of months of planning and procurement challenges.

"The list [of challenges] is long and wide" said retired Brigadier General Stan Osserman, a former commander of the Hawaii Air National Guard.  "Everything from having to build a standard configuration that the Guard Bureau and USAF accepted.  Then there was the typical case of Hawaii being so far away from Washington D.C. that we couldn't always make sure we kept our priority place in line.  We nipped that one on my last trip to D.C. and got the HIANG put back in the right place."

While the firing range's primary use is to train HIANG airmen, there are plans to eventually make the facility available to other DoD organizations.

The facility is the third one of its kind in the Air National Guard; the Nevada Air National Guard and New York Air National Guard began operating similar facilities in 2014.

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