Fort Hunter Liggett
Fort Hunter Liggett, CA. is the largest US Army Reserve Command post with over 165,000 acres. FHL is located in the central coast of California, 150 miles south of San Francisco and 250 miles north of Los Angeles. Fort Hunter Liggett provides the ultimate in training opportunities for all types of units. The terrain can support up to Battalion Plus armored task force maneuver. The Multi-Purpose Range Complex supports up to Tank/Bradley Table XII. FHL also provides aviation training with a C-130 assault strip and a regulation Army helipad. FHL has a full complement of Directorates to assist in all training and a garrison with barracks, a mess hall, PX, and other facilities for using units.
Fort Hunter Liggett, offers many training opportunities for units to focus on the basics of soldiering. The small arm ranges include: Automated M16 Qualification Range; Know Distance Range; 25 Meter Zero Range (M16); 10 Meter Zero Range (Crew Served); Engineer / Chemical Demo Range; Combat Pistol Range; HE Hand Grenade Range; and Task Force Operations. Fort Hunter Liggett was designed for live fire and maneuver training for both light and heavy units. The Multipurpose Range Complex (MPRC) supports up to Bradley and Tank Table XII. The Stony Valley area allows units to design their own live fire scenarios. As for Maneuver training, Training Area (TA) 12, 15, & 20 are equally suited for Mechanized Combat Operations and Lane Training. Light units are equally challenged by the varied terrain.
Tusi Army Heliport contains 36 Prepared parking pads, all with built-in Anchors for ties downs. Tusi's lighted runway is 570 ft. by 50 ft. and provides dedicated NOE/NVD routes. This paved heliport surface is provided for the exclusive use of rotary-wing aircraft. Marked surfaces used as reference or control points for arriving and departing aircraft (hover points) are parts of the runway. Hazmat Collection Point and refueling are available. The MPRC and Stony Valley also support avaition live fires. Schoonver Tactical Air Strip at Fort Hunter Liggett is located on main post. It is C-130 and C-12 capable. Shoonver is 5000 ft. by 70 ft. made from a compacted dirt / rock surface. Refueling operations are available. Fort Hunter Liggett boasts thirty-three (33) Drop Zones, capable of battalion sized mass attacks. Most DZs are capable of handling LAPES, CDS, and heavy Drop missions. Fully supports sling load operations. An outdoor parachute shake-out station is available.
Crocker Range is the only firing range that is open to the public. In order to use Crocker Range, individuals or groups of individuals must have two people dedicated to be the Officer in Charge (OIC) and the Range Safety Officer (RSO). Completion of the National Rifle Association approved pistol and rifle instructor's course, or equivalent, is mandatory for individuals designated to perform range Officer in Charge (OIC) or Range Safety Officer (RSO) duties on Crocker Range. Furthermore, OICs and RSOs must attend the Fort Hunter Liggett Range Safety Briefing at Range Control. Fort Hunter Liggett does not operate a commercial camping facility. However, conditional and temporary camping is available at the Fort Hunter Liggett BBQ pit area on Infantry Road. Camping for non-Army users is not permitted in any other location on Fort Hunter Liggett.
Fort Hunter Liggett, located in southern Monterey county, California, has been an active Army installation since 1940 when the US Government purchased the land from publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst, Jr. and neighboring landowners. Originally designated Hunter Liggett Military Reservation in 1941, the installation is named for Lieutenant General Hunter Liggett (1857 - 1935). General Hunter Liggett commanded the 41st National Guard Division, and later, the First Corps of the American Expeditionary Forces during World War 1. He also served as Chief of Staff for General Pershing. In 1975, the reservation was redesignated Fort Hunter Liggett Military Installation.
Fort Hunter Liggett is situated about 25 miles southwest of King City, and about 86 miles south of old Fort Ord. The climate is Mediterranean and generally semiarid. Summer daytime temperatures often exceed 100 o F, with nighttime temperatures dropping to the mid 50s within two hours after sunset. The relative humidity during the summer ranges from 4 to 6%. Annual precipitation averages 19 inches and falls primarily between December and February. Winter temperatures average in the 60s during the day and with night time lows in the 30s.
In 1940, in anticipation of training soldiers for combat on WWII European fronts, the War Department purchased over 200,000 acres of local ranch lands between Salinas River valley divide and the Pacific Ocean. Terrain varying from level valleys bordered by gentle hills to steep, rugged mountains has since provided opportunities for "real world" training and defense technology testing. At present, the installation encompasses approximately 165,000.
Until 1952, fort administration was under Camp Roberts authority; and, it was a sub-installation of Fort Ord until November 1993 when the installation came under United States Army Reserve Command. Fort Hunter Liggett now, as a sub-installation of Fort McCoy, WI, is operated primarily as the Army Reserve Command Western Reserve Training Center serving Active and Reserve components.
Fort Hunter Liggett's mission is to maintain and allocate training areas, airspace, facilities and ranges in order to support reserve and active components field maneuvers, live fire exercises, testing, and Institutional Training. Additionally, the installation provides quality of life and logistical support to training units.
In general, the installation is bounded on the north by the Salinas Valley, on the east by the foothills of the Santa Lucia mountains, on the south by Monterey/San Luis Obispo county line, and on the west by approximately 55 miles of Los Padres National Forest. The highest mountain in the area is Junipero Serra Peak; at 5,862 feet, it is visible toward the north and has a fairly good road leading to the summit. Formerly, the peak was known as Santa Lucia, and local long-time residents still call it by that name. In winter it is sometimes cloaked with a white mantle of snow.
Another high point in the area is Cone Peak (5,155 feet), best seen by taking Nacimiento Road to California Highway 1. This road crosses through some of the most beautiful scenery on the reservation and, once over the pass, opens onto a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean. Six miles south of Nacimiento Road on Highway 1 is Jade Cove a rich deposit of jade available below mean high tide. A round trip to Jade Cove takes about four hours driving.
In the summer months daytime temperatures may be 120 degrees or higher but soon after sunset, temperature drops rapidly and the nights are cool and pleasant. During the long summer, humidity is very low, rain seldom falls, and streams dry up or disappear underground. During this arid period, fire danger is so great that over 800 miles of firebreaks on the installation prevent wild fires and aid in fire suppression. Winter temperatures are low and frost is not uncommon. The rainy season usually is between December and February when an average annual 13.98 inch rainfall is expected. During this period, fertile valley soils soak up the moisture to provide abundant spring and summer wildlife feed.
Many wild animals thrive in the area, the most numerous being the California ground squirrel, rabbits and deer. Other animals include the gray tree squirrels, raccoons, wildcats, mountain lions, skunks, badgers, foxes, coyotes, opossums, wild hogs, and an occasional bear. There are also doves, pigeons, quail, wild turkey and ducks. The variety of game animals makes hunting a favorite sport for military and civilians in the area. Fishing is good in stocked ponds scattered throughout the installation.
The varied terrain and weather conditions at Fort Hunter Liggett provides unique opportunities for continuing training and testing, and makes the installation a valuable asset for future Armed Forces land use needs.
Doolittle Aircraft Training Area
Fort Hunter Liggett is approximately 76 miles west of NAS Lemoore, and has been in continuous operation by the United States Army for more than 60 years. It has also served the United States Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and California National Guard in accomplishing specialized training, including joint service training for decades.
In an effort to enhance training for Navy pilots operating out of nearby Naval Air Station (NAS) Lemoore, the Department of the Navy proposes to increase utilization of military ranges at Fort Hunter Liggett (FHL). The Navy proposes using existing military training airspace, flying the existing flight patterns used for Close Air Support (CAS) training and dropping inert weapons in the existing weapons employment area. The only modification would be to construct a 250-foot radius bullseye inside the weapons employment area for targeting. No live ammunition ordnance would be used. Only small inert training weapons to mark the point of impact with smoke charges would be used.
This proposed training asset/airspace would be named the "Doolittle Aircraft Training Area" in honor of General James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle, a long time Monterey County resident. An aviation pioneer and long time servant to his country, he is most noted as a Medal of Honor recipient for spearheading the joint Army-Navy "Doolittle Raid" from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet in April, 1942.
By using the existing flight patterns, there would be no overflights of State Highway One, the California Sea Otter Refuge, Hearst Castle or the known California Condor nests sites and Ventana Wilderness areas well north of the existing training airspace boundaries. There will be no supersonic flights flown at FHL. Also, aircraft will not fly supersonic to and from the range. All low altitude flying would be performed within the confines of the existing Restricted Area, which is controlled and operated upon by the United States Army. Existing flight plans for transiting between NAS Lemoore and FHL are nearly a straight line and are at altitudes at or above 22,000 feet and under positive air traffic control.
The Navy initiated a formal and detailed Environmental Assessment process in October 2000. The first notice to acquire information and comments from the public started in November 2000. In March 2001, the Navy decided to do an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) due to the high level of public concern and interest in this proposal. The EIS will analyze the potential environmental effects of the proposal on the natural and physical environment. Public interaction and gathering of information from all sources is a major part of this process. The Navy is committed to a thorough and comprehensive EIS.
NAS Lemoore is the home base for F/A-18 Hornet Strike Fighters assigned to Pacific Fleet aircraft carriers deploying overseas. While at home, their training cycles continue in preparation for the next deployment. Marine Corps and Naval Reserve Pilots and personnel are also stationed and train at NAS Lemoore. Fort Hunter Liggett's proximity to NAS Lemoore has always been an asset to accomplishing training goals for NAS Lemoore based aircraft and crews. It is anticipated that the Navy will make more effective use of its people and aircraft by training for certain missions within 65 miles of NAS Lemoore.
Presently, NAS Lemoore Hornet aircraft perform two general types of training within the FHL Military Airspace: air-to-ground and high altitude air-to-air missions (formation flying training, radar intercept training). The majority of missions have been air-to-air missions, with only specialized air-to-ground training taking place to date.
Specialized air-to-ground training, known as Close Air Support (CAS), was used extensively in the Bosnia/Kosovo/Former Yugoslavia area of operations. At FHL, an Army Ranger Unit, a Navy SEAL Team or Marine Reconnaissance Team on the ground will train with aircraft or helicopters to guide them to their targets. The purpose of this training is to enhance pilot proficiency in air to ground strike training.
The actual area to be used for the proposed training is already being used by the Navy and is in the existing R-2513 restricted range. All low altitude flying would be conducted within the existing R-2513 airspace where low altitude flying is already allowed. The majority of the flights will not be conducting low altitude operations. Most of the flights will be utilizing a 10,000 feet high circular dive pattern where the aircraft stay within 3 miles of the target at the north end of the R-2513 airspace, and never get below 3000 feet above the ground. When flights do use an extended low altitude pattern to the south of the proposed target, they will stay within 15 miles of the target and stay entirely within the R-2513 airspace. The closest aircraft conducting low altitude training in this airspace would come to Hearst Castle would be approx. 11 miles away and they would be behind a mountain ridge. The closest the flights would come to Morro Bay would be 33 miles. The southernmost edge of the Ventana Wilderness Area is over 6 miles from the proposed target.
The Navy intends to install a 250-foot radius target on the grounds of the existing Restricted Area 2513 impact area at FHL near Latitude 35 degrees 59 minutes North, and Longitude 121 degrees 18 minutes West. Up to a 14 statute mile run-in line is available, all inside or over US Army owned and operated real estate. This will give Navy pilots a better target to aim at in the existing target range, and provide them with immediate feedback for the accuracy of their bombing practice.
The types of ordnance to be used by the Navy fighters weigh approximately 20 pounds each and contain a small smoke charge. Each aircraft would drop between 4 and 12 of theses dummy bombs per flight. They would be dropped only in one location within the R-2513 complex and be aimed at a 500-foot diameter target.
The coastline and Los Padres National Forest may be flown over by a limited number aircraft above 15,000 feet, while transiting to the target from aircraft carriers off the coast. However, the vast majority of flights utilizing this target (over 95%) will be coming from NAS Lemoore from the east at 22,000 feet under positive FAA control, and will not be transiting over any of these areas. Once the aircraft reach the target, the majority of flights will be using a circular, dive-bombing pattern. This pattern will keep the aircraft within 5 miles of the target located near Latitude 35 degrees 59 minutes North, and Longitude 121 degrees 18 minutes West, near the north end of the existing Restricted Area 2513. This is over 51 statute miles from the Monterey Bay National Sanctuary, over 45 miles from Morro Bay, and over 21 miles from Hearst Castle. The target is 41 miles from Point Sur and over 9 miles from the nearest coastline to the west. The Santa Lucia Mountain Range lies between the target and all of these points of interest along the coast. When an extended low altitude pattern is required, the aircraft will stay within 15 miles of the target, and stay within the existing R-2513 airspace. Aircraft flying in this extended, low-altitude pattern southeast of the target will fly no closer than 10 miles from Hearst Castle and be on the other side of the mountains. The small portion of the Los Padres National Forest that is adjacent to the R-2513 airspace, and under the Hunter Liggett military operating area airspace will be not flown over by aircraft utilizing the new target.
Secretary of Defense Recommendations: Realign Camp Parks Reserve Forces Training Area, CA, by relocating the 91st Div (TSD) to Fort Hunter Liggett, CA.
Secretary of Defense Justification: This recommendation transforms Reserve Component facilities and command and control structure throughout the Southeast Region of the United States. The implementation of this recommendation will enhance military value, improve homeland defense capability, greatly improve training and deployment capability, create significant efficiencies and cost savings, and is consistent with the Army's force structure plans and Army transformational objectives.
This recommendation is the result of a nation-wide analysis of Reserve Component installations and facilities conducted by a team of functional experts from Headquarters, Department of the Army, the Office of the State Adjutant General, and the Army Reserve Regional Readiness Command.
This recommendation supports the Army Reserve's Command and Control restructuring initiative to reduce Regional Readiness Commands from ten to four. This recommendation transforms Army Reserve command and control by eliminating nondeployable command and control headquarters, transforming excess spaces into deployable units and moving institutional training units onto major training areas. It supports the Army Reserve's Command and Control restructuring initiative to reduce Regional Readiness Commands from ten to four by disestablishing two major peacetime administrative headquarters-the 63d Regional Readiness Command in Los Angeles, CA, and the 90th Regional Readiness Command in Little Rock, AR,-and creating a new consolidated headquarters in their place at Moffett Field, CA. It supports the transformation of Army Reserve Operational Force Structure by activating a sustainment brigade in Little Rock, AR in the place of the 90th RRC, which will increase the deployable capability of the Army Reserve to support the Active Army. The Sustainment brigade is a new operational capability for the Army Reserve. This proposal transforms the Army's training support to the Reserve Component by re-locating the 95th DIV (Institutional Training) from the Major General Harry Twaddle United States Army Reserve Center, Oklahoma City, OK, to Fort Sill, OK, and relocating the 91st Div (Training Support) from Camp Parks Reserve Forces Training Area, CA, to Fort Hunter Liggett, CA which improves operational effectiveness by putting these Training Divisions at major training sites in their regions.
This recommendation considered feasible locations within the demographic and geographic areas of the closing facilities and affected units. The sites selected were determined as the best locations because they optimize the Reserve Components' ability to recruit and retain Reserve Component soldiers and to train and mobilize units affected by this recommendation.
Although not captured in the COBRA analysis, this recommendation avoids an estimated $16.8M in mission facility renovation costs and procurement avoidances associated with meeting AT/FP construction standards and altering existing facilities to meet unit training and communications requirements. Consideration of these avoided costs would reduce costs and increase the net savings to the Department of Defense in the 6-year BRAC implementation period and in the 20-year period used to calculate NPV.
This recommendation provides the opportunity for other Local, State, or Federal organizations to partner with the Reserve Components to enhance homeland security and homeland defense at a reduced cost to those agencies.
Community Concerns: There were no formal expressions from the community.
Commission Findings: The Commission found no reason to disagree with the recommendation of the Secretary of Defense.
Commission Recommendations: The Commission found the Secretary's recommendation consistent with the final selection criteria and force structure plan. Therefore, the Commission approved the recommendation of the Secretary.
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