Grand Bay Range
The training advantages Moody offers new students include having Grand Bay Bombing Range located right off the end of the runway, and having several Moody-controlled military airspace routes close to the base. The 49th Flying Training Squadron uses Moody's military operating areas for air-to-air training and the Grand Bay bombing range for air-to-ground training. On an annual basis Grand Bay Range has hosted Gunsmoke, an Air Combat Command wide bomb competition. On a local basis, Spectrum supports several turkey shoots per year involving bomb competition between squadron teams from the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps.
Spectrum Sciences & Software, Inc. is a small technical services and manufacturing corporation. One of the company's core business areas is bombing and gunnery training range operation, maintenance, and technology. The Operation and Maintenance of Grand Bay Range involves a broad range of services. Operational responsibilities encompass:
- Range Control Officer duties of air traffic management
- Control of ordnance delivery by a vast spectrum of aircraft (assigning aircraft altitudes, direction, speed and pattern, eliminating unsafe practices through close supervision of aircraft in the bomb/gunnery patterns, and ensuring all operations are performed in accordance with applicable regulation)
- Weapons scoring to include DA3H acoustical scoring
- Range safety and control of aircraft
- Use of range facilities and movement of personnel within the range boundaries
Coordination of all range activities with military, local, state and federal authorities. Spectrum has been tasked to develop mitigation plans for compliance with environmental regulations and to develop programs for the management of hazardous waste collection, storage, and disposal, including the storage and handling of Class "C" explosives. Spectrum operates daily in an extensive wetland environment replete with environmentally sensitive plants and animals. For its performance, Spectrum has received a rating of excellence from the Air Force Environmental Compliance and Management Policy program. The Air Combat Command Inspector General awarded Spectrum an overall outstanding rating, commenting most favorably on Spectrum's comprehensive plan for smooth range operations, unique munitions disposal plan, and operations having a minimal environmental impact on range property. Spectrum has been nominated as a candidate for the Small Business Administration's "Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year", a national award to the year's most outstanding prime contractor.
The Grand Bay complex is the largest inland waterfowl resting area in south-central Georgia. The extensive wetlands attract a diversity of wading bird species. Large rookeries of great blue, little blue, yellow-crowned night, black-crowned night and green herons; great and cattle egrets; white ibis; anhingas; and American and least bitterns occur on Grand Bay. Ospreys have also been observed in the general area. In addition, numerous passerine species, including the prothonotary warbler, frequent the marsh areas. Hunting is permitted over much of the base property. Large rookeries of great blue, little blue, yellow-crowned night, black-crowned night and green herons; great and cattle egrets; white ibis; anhingas; and American and least bitterns occur on Grand Bay. Ospreys have also been observed in the general area.
Several federally endangered (E) or threatened (T) species occur in the area year-round or seasonally. An excellent population of the federally threatened American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is found throughout the Grand Bay/Banks Lake complex. Alligator have also been found at Mission Lake. The wood stork (E) (Mycteria Americana) feeds in the Grand Bay swamp area. An estimated 100 to 250 wood storks use wetland areas with falling water levels during late summer-early fall. Bald eagles (E) (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) have been observed at the grassy pond recreational area.
Grand Bay Wildlife Management Area is located in the lower Coastal Plain physiographic province in what is typically known as "flatwoods." It is situated within a 13,000-acre wetlands system, which is the second largest natural blackwater wetland in the Coastal Plain of Georgia. In many ways, the large, shallow, peat-filled wetlands of Grand Bay mimic their big brother, the Okefenokee Swamp. Grand Bay is one of the land features known as "Carolina bays" which, according to one theory, were created by showers of meteors. Plant communities within these bays are a mosaic of wet savannas, shrub bogs, cypress-gum ponds, prairie and black gum-cypress swamps, practically indistinguishable from habitats found in the Okefenokee. The diversity of wildlife also compares favorably with that found in the Okefenokee. Uplands surrounding the wetlands provide good examples of mature longleaf-slash pine flatwoods. A small percentage of the area is in mixed live oak-pine and is home to gopher tortoises and indigo snakes. Dudley's Hammock, a rare example of a mature broadleaf-evergreen hammock community, is found in the area.
Lowndes County is named for William Lowndes, a South Carolina statesman who died shortly after being nominated for Vice President of the United States. The county's five municipalities are Dasher, Hahira, Lake Park, Remerton, and Valdosta. The county seat, Valdosta, was named for Governor George Troup's plantations, named for an Italian alpine valley, Val D'Osta. The county's numerous opportunities for recreation include the 5,000-acre Grand Bay Wildlife Management Area, 10 miles north of Valdosta, which is the second largest cypress-blackgum bay in Georgia after the Okefenokee Swamp.
Grand Bay Wildlife Management Area is a combination of blackgum-cypress swamp and upland pine forest. It has opportunities for fishing, hunting, hiking and other activities. Grand Bay has a 2,600-foot boardwalk, which extends into the swamp to an old fire tower that is open to the public during normal operating hours, 6 a.m till 9 p.m. seven days a week until winter when the closing time changes to 7 p.m. Grand Bay was created in 1968. The state of Georgia, Moody Air Force Base and several private landowners own the 18,000 acres. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Division manages about 1,350 acres of the Grand Bay area. Some activities open to the public are hiking, biking, canoeing, camping, fishing and hunting. Paths through the upland pine area create a nice scenic walk or bike ride. Canoeing is also available, but no canoes are provided. Fishing is another fun activity but requires a fishing license.
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