Fort Benning to resume tank, machine gun firing this week

Schedule calls for no firing on the weekends through mid-February

tadams@ledger-enquirer.comJanuary 6, 2014 

After a holiday break, Fort Benning is ready to crank up the heavy guns at various ranges, likely generating various loud sounds for some residents in and around Columbus.

The post’s U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence issued a schedule Monday indicating the firing will resume Thursday and continue through Feb. 11. Much of the training will begin by 9 in the morning, lasting until late in the evening. None of the firing should go past midnight, the schedule shows.

The training will take place at various ranges in the northeastern portion of Fort Benning, public affairs specialist Sue Ulibarri said via email release.

“Community members may notice more sounds during this timeframe,” she said of the maneuvering by the U.S. Army Armor School and the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team. The concussion from the tank and machine gun rounds have been known to rattle the windows of homes and frighten pets in parts of Columbus, particularly in the Midland area out Macon Road.

The M1A1 Abrams tank will be the weapon of choice during the training, with the post saying it will shoot powerful 120mm rounds, along with .50-caliber machine gun ammunition. There apparently will be work put in as well by Bradley Fighting Vehicle crews, who will fire 25mm rounds. Plastic explosives, known as “C4,” also is on the schedule.

Fort Benning fires more than 42 million rounds of ammo annually, with the post saying that’s more than any other post. The Abrams tank has been a battle mainstay in the nation’s last three wars in the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Our challenge is to balance our soldiers’ training requirements with the needs of the community,” Ulibarri’s email said.

The range schedule, which the post said is subject to change, doesn’t call for any firing on weekends. That means no big booms and rat-a-tat sounds Jan. 11-13, Jan. 18-21 (includes Martin Luther King Jr. holiday), Jan. 25-26, Feb. 1-2 and Feb. 8-9.

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