Camp Weicker / Camp Ribicoff
Stone's Ranch Military Reservation
The military training ground in Niantic was built March 16, 1881, and sits on about 80 acres. It is a National Guard training facility with a dining facility, laundry facility, warehouse, 10 classrooms, distance-learning center and a firearm training facility. Camp Rowland is located in Niantic, Connecticut, and is easily accessible from Route 95.
As of 2002 the facility was known as Camp Rowland. On January 4, 1999, John G. Rowland was sworn into a second term as Governor of the State of Connecticut. He first took office in 1995 at age 37 and was reelected in 1998 with the highest plurality in state history. Previously, the facility was known as Camp Weicker, after Lowell Weicker, Jr., whose political career spanded over 32 years, including three terms as a U.S. Senator and Governor of Connecticut.
In January 2001 legislation was introduced in the Connecticut state legislature that the Connecticut National Guard training site in Niantic be permanently named Camp Ribicoff, in honor of former Governor and United States Senator Abraham Ribicoff. This bill would both to honor former Governor and Senator Abraham Ribicoff, and save the costs currently incurred when the facility is periodically renamed after incumbent governors.
Two projects, completed by the Department of Public Works in late 1999, included a new $2.9 million Quarters Building, and a $650,000 Firearms Training Simulator. Two additional projects, which were administered by the Army National Guard, were a $250,000 multi-purpose training pavilion, and a $50,000 distance learning center. The Quarters Building is a 13,500 square foot, single-story, brick facility consisting of 52 rooms with two beds per room. It is designed to serve personnel who are attending classes at Camp Rowland for training in advanced tactical and technical programs. The contractor was Carlin Construction Company of New London and the architect was Fletcher-Thompson of Bridgeport. The new Firearms Training facility is a 4,900 square foot high-tech simulator. In it, realistic weapons firing can be conducted in a wide variety of scenarios, without the expense and logistical problems of live ammunition fire. The facility will also be available to law enforcement agencies. Sarazin General Contractors, Inc. of Columbia, Connecticut, was the contractor. The designer was the Department of the Military.
In September 2001 the Senate Appropriations Committee approved legislation that will provide $12.52 million to upgrade and modernize Connecticut military facilities, Connecticut programs that will receive funding under the bill include the Army National Guard Leadership Training Academy at Camp Rowland in Niantic, which received $520,000 for designing the redevelopment of the facility to meet training needs.
The First Company Governor's Horse Guard was first chartered in 1788 as the Governor's Independent Volunteer Troop of Horse Guards. Operating from its own armory on Main Street in Hartford, the Horse Guard members turned out annually for drills, parades, dedications, social functions and maneuvers at the State's military training ground in Niantic. The highlight of the Governor's annual review of the National Guard in Niantic was often the mounted drills and thundering charges on horseback by Troop B members.
Stone's Ranch Military Reservation, which is located a few miles southwest of Camp Rowland, is about 2,000 acres and is a multi-use tactical training area for the Connecticut National Guard. Stone's Ranch consists of bivouac areas, a land-navigation course, 23-station confidence course, leadership reaction course, repelling tower, live-fire demolition range, bridge training facility, diesel fuel point with was rack, ammunition storage facility and an airstrip.
Nearly 40 airmen from the Arkansas Air National Guard's 189th Airlift Wing deployed to this Northeast United States military installation Aug. 18- Sept. 1, 2001 to help complete several infrastructure projects for the Connecticut National Guard's premier training area and to accomplish annual training requirements for traditional Guard members. The 189th Civil Engineering Squadron sent 33 unit members in various career fields, such as plumbers, electricians and power production technicians, to participate in Phase IV of Joint Task Force Husky. The 189th Services Flight sent two people to help feed the deployed members, and the 189th Logistics Flight sent the unit's first sergeant. Construction projects have been in progress at two locations here in Southeast Connecticut: Camp Rowland and nearby Stone's Ranch Military Reservation. Civil engineer Guard units from around the United States have come here in three previous phases to help upgrade infrastructure.
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