Doña Ana Range
Dona Ana Range Camp is located about 10 miles east of Interstate 10, and 20 miles or so to the southeast of Las Cruces, NM. The site is also about 20 miles west of Fort Bliss, McGregor Missile Range, and about 30 miles south of Condron AAF. Dona Ana Range nearly connects the main cantonment area of Fort Bliss (through the McGregor Range) with WSMR. State Highway 54 is the boundary between the McGregor and Dona Ana ranges.
Dona Ana Range include the Multi-Purpose Range Complex - Heavy which is fully automated with computer driven scenarios. This range contains 7 target lanes with 59 armor stationary pits, 57 moving targets, and 153 stationary pop-up targets. The Dona Range Complex also has 14 ranges for small arms, crew served, armor, mechanized infantry, and aerial gunnery. Dona Ana Base Camp has 6 dining facilities, 2 available maintenance facilities, and the capability to billet 1,100 personnel.
The New Mexico Army National Guard keeps 18 M109 A6 Paladin Howitzers at the Dona Ana Range Camp near White Sands. The M109 A6 Paladin Howitzer is one part of the New Mexico National Guard Field Artillery Howitzer Battalion. Along with 18 ammo carriers, Humvee ambulances and various recovery vehicles, the Howitzers make-up the southern New Mexico National Guard Field Artillery Howitzer Battalion, which consists of batteries from Las Cruces, Alamagordo, Deming and Lordsburg.
Mobile source battlefield smoke generators are used to create tactical smoke clouds using fog oil to screen friendly actions against agressor positions. This training is done at the Dona Ana Range, New Mexico, of Ft. Bliss Texas/NM right over the Texas state line in New Mexico. Of concern to local low income minority communities in the area, is that in 1998 the clouds drifted off the training range creating haze that required initial consideration of an emergency response. The military training was beomg conducted by contractors, and these training contractors were fined
In April 1997 a MI-24 Hind attack helicopter simulated ground attacks as it flies in the mist of a simulated aerial chemical attack on an air defense site at Dona Ana Range, Fort Bliss. The attacks on the camp were part of Exercise Roving Sands '97. More than 20,000 service members from all branches of the armed forces of the U.S., Canada, Germany, and the Netherlands participated in Roving Sands '97. The exercise was designed to refine their skills in operations using an integrated air defense network of ground, missile and radar early warning systems combined with tactical fighter and bomber aircraft operating in a simulated high-threat environment. The Russian made helicopter is operated by Optec Threat Support Activity, Biggs Army Airfield, Texas.
At one time Dona Ana County, which contains Las Cruces as the county seat and Old Mesilla, extended from the Colorado River to include most of the Arizona Territory and eastward to include most of what is today Otero County. Today, Dona Ana County's only river is the Rio Grande which is quite tame due to water control by the Caballo and Elephant Butte Reservoirs. Dams across the Rio Grande hold the water in reserve for irrigation of farms along the Mesilla Valley and past El Paso and for use by Mexico. Very little water from this area ever reaches the Gulf of Mexico.
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