OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. --
The 55th Security Forces Squadron opened their new modular small arms range with a ribbon shooting ceremony May 11, 2023.
The $5.2 million modular facility includes 14 firing lanes and a fully contained ballistic protection range, which can support the live firing requirements for most deployers and defenders.
“This range is really a big first step towards a return to normality for the 55th SFS,” said Col. Jasin Cooley, 55th Mission Support Group commander, who was the presiding official. “Even though this is a temporary solution, it is a game changer.”
The Recon Raiders lost their 16,200 square-foot range in March 2019 when 720 million gallons of flood water covered the southeastern portion of the base. Since then, the 55th SFS combat arms instructors have spent more than 3,200 hours in transit to various local municipal and private ranges to train more than 20,000 shooters.
“This is my pride and joy,” said Tech. Sgt. Daniel Perrotta, 55th SFS Combat Arms noncommissioned officer in charge. “I’ve seen it come together from the ground up and I couldn’t be happier.”
In addition to saving tens of thousands of dollars each year, the new range will provide instructors with better responsiveness for last minute training and allow the Recon Raiders to maintain night fire currency at any time of the day.
“Some of our platforms on this base and personnel respond at no-notice for taskings around the world,” Cooley said. “Not having to drive them across town and coordinate with ranges that we don’t control will allow us a lot more flexibility.
“And then waiting until dark in the Nebraska summer or firing at night in winter are not pleasant events,” he added. “Whereas with this range we can now night fire in the air continued comfort at noon.”
Once the new 55th SFS Campus is complete in late 2024, including a permanent small arms range, the modular facility will be disassembled and transported for use elsewhere.