Fort Indiantown Gap / Bollen Range
Ft. Indiantown Gap serves as the headquarters for the Pennsylvania Department of Military Affairs and the Pennsylvania National Guard - Army and Air. A National Cemetery is located on the western edge of the training site. Fort Indiantown Gap is a premier regional training site. This 18,000 acre military reservation is managed by the Pennsylvania National Guard. The base is a restricted area. The installation has served as a military training facility since 1931. Fort Indiantown Gap is located 23 miles northeast of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The primary mission of the facility is to provide administrative, logistical, maintenance, and family support to active and reserve component units training at the installation, as well as for tenant and off post activities in central and eastern Pennsylvania.
The primary mission of Fort Indiantown Gap is military training for the active and reserve components of all the services. Civilian organizations with compatible interests and training needs are also accommodated whenever possible. On average, more than 100,000 individual students and trainees rotate through the installation every year. Some 1,300 people work full-time on Fort Indiantown Gap. They include state and federal civilians; military technicians; members of the Active Guard and Reserve program; active-duty soldiers; and employees of contractors and non-DMVA tenants. This makes Fort Indiantown Gap the largest employer in Lebanon County. Annual economic impact exceeds $100 million.
The Bollen Range (R5802A/B Kiowa MOA) is scheduled by Det 1, 193 Special Operations Wing at Annville, PA. Primary Customers: 103 FW, 104 FW, 111 FW, 113 FW, 135 AG, 167 AW, 174 FW, 175 FW, 193 SOW, 459 AW, 177 FW, VMFA-321, 913 AW, and 104 CAV(Helo's)
In 1998 The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, in association with Lebanon County, embarked on a public-private venture beginning with a feasibility study for a joint-use military/general aviation airport at Fort Indiantown Gap. Under the plan a runway able to handle civilian business aircraft could be used by the Guard and Reserve to enhance training by bringing in troops on the Air Guard's C-130 Hercules. The Pennsylvania National Guard envisioned a substantial growth in training activity at the Gap, requiring a corresponding gain in support facilities and personnel. This future growth will parallel civilian business development along the I-81/I-78 corridor south and east of the post.
In July 1995, the BRAC Commission recommended closure of Fort Indiantown Gap, except minimum essential ranges, facilities, and training areas used as a Reserve Component enclave. Fort Indiantown Gap is owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is leased by the Army. By October 1998, the installation's excess property was returned to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania assumed control of the land from the federal government and converted it to a National Guard and Army Reserve training site. The training expenditures of Fort Indiantown Gap were cost efficient with over 177,000 personnel trained annually at a per capita cost of $91.50.
The Pennsylvania Army National Guard (PAARNG) and the Pennsylvania Air National Guard (PaANG) have formulated long-range plans to ensure the continued and long-term viability of FTIG as a National Guard Training Center. In these plans, a total of 11 actions, comprised of 42 component projects, are proposed for the specific purposes and needs set forth in the DEIS. These proposed actions consist of the construction or improvement of the following projects: (1) Tracked Vehicle Training Complex, (2) Ammunition Supply Point Facility, (3) Artillery Training Support Facility, (4) Multi-Purpose Training Range Facility, (5) NGTC-FTIG Garrison Facility, (6) Wastewater Treatment Plant and Collection System, (7) Muir Army Airfield Complex, (8) Air Guard Station Facilities, (9) Air-to-Ground Range Control Compound, (10) Regional Equipment Operator Training School, and (11) the implementation of the Integrated Natural Resources Management Plan. Implementation of these actions and component projects, in concert with on-going operations, will provide the user of NGTC-FTIG with the facilities, training support, logistical support, and resources necessary to complete their military mission.
The newly constructed Military Education Center at Fort Indiantown Gap provides computer aided classrooms to facilitate anything from a squad-sized class to a 1,200-person ceremony. The center also houses the distance learning and video teleconferencing classrooms. Fort Indiantown Gap has newly renovated ranges for training on small-arms, automatic, semi-automatic and long-range firing weapons. The urban training site consists of a number of open-faced building configurations so instructors and students can observe entry and clearing techniques from outside.
The Military Education Building forms the core of a complete academic complex, similar to a small community college campus. It is home to the 166th Regiment (Combat Arms), a Pennsylvania Army National Guard unit responsible for combat skill training and leader development for Guard and Reserve soldiers throughout the mid-Atlantic region. The $6.3 million building contains 90,000 square feet of educational space, including two video teleconferencing centers, linked to teaching sites Army-wide; 22 classrooms; a 208-seat auditorium; and two computer learning centers for individualized multi-media course work. It will also feature a high-tech simulation center, allowing up to 11 soldiers at a time to conduct weapons training and carry out mock engagements on a computerized, three-dimensional battlefield. The second, $16 million phase of the academic complex encompasses two 300-student dormitories, a dining facility and an administrative building. These replace the World War II-era barracks now used to house and train students at the 166th Regiment.
Fort Indiantown Gap was selected as the site for the Northeast Counterdrug Training Center in part due to the wide variety of facilities available. Fort Indiantown Gap is able to provide students comfortable lodging, state-of-the-art classrooms, distance learning and video teleconferencing facilities, ranges, an urban training site, tactical entry training facilities, an indoor engagement skills trainer, dining facilities, fitness center, swimming pool and other recreational facilities.
The history of Indiantown Gap dates back to the Susquehannock Indians who were cultivating the land in that area of Pennsylvania for well over three thousand years. By 1754 the Indians' resentment at the white settlers grew steadily stronger, so the French found them willing allies against the colonists as the French and Indian War began. The Indians started making attacks on the frontier settlement --- using the passes that existed in the Blue Mountains through Manada Gap, Indiantown Gap, and Swatara Gap. Because of these attacks, a chain of fortifications was established across the northern tier of Lebanon County. Just south of Indiantown Gap the house of Adam Reed was turned into a fort in 1755.
Throughout its history, Fort Indiantown Gap has been used for military maneuvers, construction, and agriculture. Particularly in the early years of the 30-square-mile installation's operation, the heavily forested landscape was altered significantly.
The origin of Fort Indiantown Gap as a military training facility actually began in 1931 when, at the recommendation of General Edward Martin, Commanding General of the 28th Division, they moved and expanded the National Guard training site from the 120 acre summer encampment at Mt Gretna to Indiantown Gap. Additional land was gradually purchased from local farmers until the total area was in excess of 18,000 acres of land and annual maneuvers started at the Gap in 1933. On September 30, 1940, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania leased the Reservation to the Federal Government for $1.00. (Today's Federal lease with the Commonwealth continues to be $1.00.) Construction began almost immediately. Thirteen thousand workmen were called in. Upon completion, there were over 1,400 buildings. [Including headquarters buildings, three fire stations, two guest houses, a bus station, nine chapels, two service clubs, four huge theaters, a large sports arena and a 400 bed Hospital].
Indiantown Gap was dedicated on March 3, 1941, and officially named Indiantown Gap Military Reservation (or IGMR) after the former Indian villages that had occupied the area. World War II began the strategic importance of the Gap. It was one of the nation's most important Army training camps serving as the staging area for the New York Port of Embarkation. Seven divisions were given final training at the Gap, prior to being shipped overseas.
From 1951 to 1953, during the Korean War, the Gap's strategic role again surfaced when it became the home of the 5th Infantry Division whose mission was to train 32,000 troops as replacements for assignment to Korea. During the late 1960's and early 1970's Fort Indiantown Gap served as one of the largest Reserve Officers Training Corps summer camps.
On May 1, 1975, the Secretary of the Army announced an official name change. Henceforth, Indiantown Gap Military Reservation was to be known as Fort Indiantown Gap. In 1980, the Fort again became a refugee camp when over 19,000 Cuban aliens were brought to the Gap for processing and sponsorship.
The fort has more than 1,300 buildings, 288 miles of roadway, over 64 miles of water lines, 170 ranges and training areas. Fort Indiantown Gap held the strategic mission of being a Mobilization Station designed to prepare soldiers as they mobilized for War. That mission ceased in September 1996 and the Army Garrison began an infrastructure reduction program to focus renovations on the more sustainable facilities and demolition those excess facilities to save the costs of maintenance and repair.
Working closely with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, The Nature Conservancy and the Environmental Protection Agency, the installation at Fort Indiantown Gap near Harrisburg has begun a project to restore several acres of the Chesapeake Bay watershed within its borders to their natural state. In just two years, the installation restored seven miles of stream buffer-known as riparian forest-plus five acres of wetlands and 25 acres of warm-season grasslands. The project's goal is to improve water quality in the tributaries located on the installation, control streamside erosion and sediment, and provide wildlife habitat.
The effort is being funded by a $42,800 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Chesapeake Bay Habitat Restoration Challenge Program. With an additional $65,200 in funds provided by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, The Nature Conservancy and the Pennsylvania Department of Military Affairs at Fort Indiantown Gap, the project has $108,000 to invest in replanting and restoration.
The restoration project at the installation represents a major milestone for the U.S. Army and other federal agencies. They are committed to restoring 100 acres of wetlands each year beginning in 2000 and 200 miles of riparian forest buffer by 2010. The effort at Fort Indiantown Gap now will serve as a demonstration site for other restoration projects.
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