Camp Ethan Allen Training Site
Ethan Allen Firing Range
The Ethan Allen Firing Range is an 11,000 acre government facility in Jericho, in the West Bolton area of Vermont. It features a complete weapon testing area for development, qualification and testing of armament systems. The Army trains upwards of 20,000 troops here every year.
The range, the site of Vermont's Mountain Warfare School, is one of the premier cross-country ski and biathlon facilities in North America. Ethan Allen Firing Range features one of three internationally licensed biathlon courses in the United States. Vermont became the backbone of the U.S. Military Biathlon Program in 1972, and ran the National Guard Bureau's first biathlon championships in 1975. That event is now held in the Green Mountain State and in Minnesota on alternating years.
The Vermont Army Reserve and National Guard Mountain Warfare School course trains soldiers on mountaineering. The course covers rappelling, rock climbing, mountain survival, land navigation, first aid, and knots. The course is physically and mentally demanding. It consists of daily mountain walks up to the training sites, loaded with a full rucksack. Soldiers climb up and rappel down mountains, tie rope systems to make bridges, navigate the land by day and night, and learn how to care for and evacuate casualties. During the two-week winter phase, students are introduced to ice climbing, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in mountainous terrain.
The new Mountain Warfare Military Academy and Infantry Armory project included the design and construction of three main buildings, a storage building, and support utilities. The main buildings include a two story, 30,000 sf. school with barracks to accommodate trainees, a 10,000 sf. highly secured armory for use by the 3/172nd Mountain Battalion, and a 6,000 sf. instructor's barracks. The buildings were designed to meet the requirements of rugged construction, high security, and ease of maintenance while maintaining pleasant and functional surroundings. The facility is located at the Ethan Allen Firing Range in the Green Mountains of Vermont. This facility has been heralded as the Vermont National Guard's centerpiece project and receives visitors from many countries to train for harsh winter conditions.
General Dynamics Armament Systems uses the Ethan Allen Firing Range to provide a wide variety of unique weapons and munitions testing services in support of its customers. The transition from 1970s technology to modern technology in the Range Data Acquisition System utilizes concurrent engineering by combining multiple measurement techniques into a single unit.
The Ethan Allen Firing Range is a government facility operated by General Dynamics Armament Systems (GDAS). This 6,500-meter firing range sits on an 11,500-acre area which is shared with the Vermont National Guard. Approximately 546 acres are exclusive for GDAS' use and 2,328 acres are shared. GDAS uses the range for system development, qualification, and testing of armament and ammunition. A unique feature of the range is its 40-degree incline firing capability.
The Ethan Allen Firing Range uses 17 interlocked test areas and provides versatility in hardstand, vehicle, and munitions testing up to 40mm. The six-member workforce at the firing range has a combined 150 years of expertise in testing munitions via analog, digital, targeting, and photo instrumentation. Their safety record speaks for itself with zero injuries related to weapons and munitions testing. Audits conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms; ISO-9000; Defense Contract Management Command; Government Property Agency; Vermont OSHA; and the Safety Council of the Vermont Army National Guard revealed no significant findings. In 1998, GDAS upgraded its Range Data Acquisition System (RDAS) to modern technology which will allow for easier upgrades in the future.
The Ethan Allen Firing Range has evolved into a center of excellence in weapons and munitions testing and data recording capability due in part to the upgraded RDAS, compliance to ISO-9000 requirements, and other continuous process improvements (CPIs). In addition, GDAS has expanded the range's capability to include field support, engineering evaluation, system qualification, and customer demonstrations.
Over 100 potential historical sites have been identified on the Ethan Allen Firing Range. Many of these sites have extant remains like chimneys and standing walls. Area maps beginning in the late 1800's and spanning through the early 1940's suggest potential occurrence of 100 farms/residences, 5 craft sites, 9 industrial sites, 2 religious sites, 1 post office, 4 bridges, 5 military sites, 5 schools, 1 store, 1 CCC camp and 1 memorial site. References on the earliest maps indicate some of the structures may date to settlement periods.
Forest Management plays a crucial role in sustaining the long term viability and carrying capacity of training lands on the firing range. Pro-active management maintains and promotes a healthy and diverse forest ecosystem. Selective thinning in appropriate areas helps to keep healthy and vigorous stands of both hardwoods and softwoods.
The Vermont Army National Guard is developing a Children's Nature Trail. This trail will be in a remote, non-shooting part of the Ethan Allen Firing Range. Its use would be exclusively by school groups with grades 1-2 and 5-6 as the intended audience.
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