by Airman 1st Class Jessica H. Evans
366th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
1/13/2016 - MOUNTAIN HOME AIR FORCE BASE, Idaho- -- The
366th Operations Support Squadron won the Defense Logistics Agency
Range of the Year award. Although there isn't a trophy or plaque
presented, the range personnel have earned big time bragging rights for
their use of excess property.
The Range of the Year competition was created by the DLA to heighten
ranges interest in using excess equipment for target practice. With a
goal of simplifying processes and saving taxpayer dollars, the
competition allows ranges to creatively accomplish both.
"Generally, the ranges have to buy soft targets that are made of plywood
and cardboard," said Curtis Viall, 366th OSS range operations officer.
"An alternative to these soft targets is to use a vehicle that has been
deemed excess or unserviceable."
The reused vehicles become hard targets, he explained. Unlike the soft
targets, they're sturdier and can withstand multiple hits from weapons
systems. Not only are the targets durable, but they offer other benefits
"Finding valuable ways to utilize excess property, vehicles [and]
equipment on the range provides our aircrews realistic tactical targets
and saves a significant amount of money," Viall said. "Last year over a
thousand vehicles were reutilized [on] ranges, saving thousands of
The categories of the competition look at layout, overall range
capabilities, reutilization totals, cleanliness of the facility, overall
appearance and what's been accomplished using DLA equipment.
"We typically acquire tanks, self-propelled and towed artillery, armored
personnel carriers, [shipping] containers, [Humvees] and construction
equipment," Viall said. "Once at the range the vehicles are prepped to
go on range as target[s]."
Preparation can include removing shiny surfaces and glass in order to
reduce laser reflection, he explained, as well as removing hazardous
waste such as oil and transmission fluid.
"In some cases targets require no modification and can [go] directly
onto the range to be used, but quite often we will make modifications to
make them look more realistic," Viall said.
Examples of their creative targets include building villages out of
shipping containers, using modified satellite dishes to simulate enemy
communication infrastructure, simulated tunnel entrances, modifying
trailers to pull by remote control vehicles for laser guided bombs and
many other realistic targets.
The contract maintenance personnel from Environmental Management
Incorporated services used a lot of imagination and skill to get these
systems looking more like enemy targets, Viall explained.
"We're proud of our OSS range team and the recognition this award
highlights," said Lt. Col. Sean Lowe, 366th OSS commander. "Mr. Viall
and his team have built a culture of innovation while developing a
world-class training environment. The team's ability to react to dynamic
F-15E operational requirements by organically developing full scale
tactical targets and threats prepares Gunfighters for combat challenges
they may face in Syria, Iraq or Afghanistan."