With the snip of a ribbon last week Marine Corps officers marked completion of 15 years of improvements on the Townsend Bombing Range in Long and McIntosh counties.
Marine officials say the range plays an important role in national security by providing a place for pilots from Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort to practice with precision guided munitions.
The old TBR was about 5,000 acres; with the expansion it now includes more than 33,000 acres, plenty of room for training with modern advanced weapons.
Until the range improvement aircrew from Beaufort had to go to California or Arizona to complete their training. Now training on MCAS Beaufort’s planes can be 85 percent done without going to the west coast. As the newer F-35s come on line almost all of their training with precision guided weapons can be accomplished at home station with the improved Townsend Bombing Range.
Only inert training bombs are used at TBR. They mimic the weight and behavior of the real thing, but only a very small charge goes off to help observers see and score the bomb’s location.
The ranking VIP at the ribbon cutting ceremony was Maj. Gen. Edward Banta, head of the Marine Corps Installation Command, and he told a story that caused many heads to nod in the audience. As a young pilot training at TBR, he said, “I buzzed downtown Ludowici.”
The event closed with an impressive demonstration by two F-18 aircraft performing air-to-ground firing and other maneuvers.
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