Members of the New England District team, in partnership with the Louisville and Huntsville Districts, as well as the Security Construction and Range Control teams at Fort Devens recently completed two firing ranges at Fort Devens, Massachusetts.
Dave O’Connor, Project Engineer and Chris Caisse, Construction Representative from the Central Resident Office, joined partner representatives in conducting a joint final inspection of a combat pistol/MP qualifications range at the installation, Aug. 26.
The joint team thoroughly inspected a total of 96 target emplacements, the Control Tower, classroom, storage room, maintenance area, covered mess, bleachers and ammunition supply building as well as all of the circuitry. “Each of the 96 target emplacements sit on a mound of earth and has complex data and power wiring for the targets,” said James Morocco, Chief of the Central Resident Office. “The inspection goes over every emplacement and structure.”
During the early stages of construction, the joint team conducted an initial inspection to ensure that the position of the first installed target emplacements and wiring was correct and compatible so that the rest of the emplacements could be installed.
The New England District Team of O’Connor and Caisse made daily inspections of the project as work was ongoing, so it was no surprise that it passed the final, joint inspection.
“Usually, an inspection like this takes a full day, but because the project was in top shape, the inspection did not take as long,” said Morocco. “This particular team has completed over 100 range inspections this year and they stated that this range is rated in the top two, if not the best they have seen.”
Construction on this $3.6 million project began in March and was completed in September. Security Construction of Hudson, Massachusetts, an 8A contractor, performed the work for the New England District. Now that the range has passed inspection, Fort Devens personnel can proceed with installing targets and training Soldiers.
In addition to the combat pistol/MP qualifications range, the District completed a $2.1 million Known Distance (K-D) Range at Fort Devens, passing its final inspection on time and within budget. Construction on the project began in March and was completed in late August.
This project provides the Army and Marines with a 60-lane, multi-use facility that extends to 600 meters at the longest distance. New England District’s Nick Skianes, Project Engineer, and Chris Caisse, Construction Representative, oversaw the construction and the daily inspections. Tantara, an 8A, Hubzone Woman-owned business from Worcester, Massachusetts, performed the work for the District. “This is one of the rare times that we had a Design/Build project with an 8A contractor,” said Morocco.
The Known Distance range is much different from the combat pistol range. “There is a platform at the far end of the range that is about 8-feet below the level of the shooters,” said Morocco. “The targets are on a lift that raises and lowers them. The targets are graded and loaded manually, so there is a person sitting below the target when the person above is shooting.”
According to Morocco, there is a canopy for shrapnel that protects the operator. Previously, the targets were lifted by hand, but technology has advanced and the District installed electronic lifters for this project.
Because the range will be used jointly by the Army and Marines, the District built multiple firing points in yards for the Army and in meters for the Marines. “We have a 100-meter shooting spot as well as a 100-yard shooting spot for each shooting position up to the 600-meters,” said Morocco.
The New England District has completed three firing ranges for Fort Devens this year alone, making the total firing ranges constructed on the installation at seven. The District will partner with Louisville and Huntsville once again to construct another range in the near future.
“While many people believe that Fort Devens is closed, there is an active Army Reserve containment area as well as nearly 5,000 acres of training area,” said Morocco. “This training area hosts an average of 135,000 people annually including military, federal agencies such as the FBI, CIA, DEA, Secret Service and Homeland Security as well as numerous local police departments.”
Assisting Fort Devens by constructing these firing range facilities is in keeping with the USACE Campaign Plan initiative, "Support the Warfighter."