MRAP Military Vehicle Training
CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia National Guard hosted an opening ceremony for an innovative training program and facility Monday, Sept. 19 at 9 a.m. at the Center for National Response in Standard, W.Va (Memorial Tunnel, just off I-64). The new training program and facility was designed to prepare U.S. forces to navigate challenging terrain they face daily in countries including Afghanistan, Iraq, and others.
The program, which was designed by West Virginia National Guard staff, will provide training for various combat vehicles in conditions similar to the mountains of Afghanistan, including maintenance, advanced mobility, electronics, weapon systems, and driving in challenging terrain. The course can also be altered to mirror other countries in which the United States military could be deployed. Currently the range is being used for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. The training site was built in a partnership with Tyler-Morgan Coal Company and Pardee Resources Group. The land was part of a modern mining operation that continues today, and is an example of a creative approach to concurrent land use that benefits the nation’s military and the local economy.
“It’s about saving American lives by allowing soldiers to develop their driving skills before they go into combat. West Virginia is the perfect location to provide this real-world training,” said West Virginia National Guard Adjutant General, Major General James A. Hoyer. “This is an excellent example of using our natural assets and the tremendous ingenuity of our people to develop a world-class training facility. The West Virginia personnel providing the training represent some of the most extensive combat experience in the nation. It will ensure American troops receive the most realistic training possible before they deploy to combat zones around the world.”
There are many different types of MRAP vehicles but this version is the first of its kind to be built. The multi-million dollar vehicles weigh approximately 50,000 pounds each and will protect military members who encounter IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices). The impact of the dozens of trainers and trainees living in the area is expected to infuse $9.4 million into the local economy.