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Home on range: Airmen, Soldiers partner to prime skills

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Harry Brexel
  • 19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- A main priority of the U.S. Air Force’s Air Mobility Command is to enhance partnerships to execute and sustain rapid global mobility. One prime example is the weapons training cooperation between Little Rock Air Force Base and Arkansas National Guard installations.

Approximately 15 minutes down the road from Little Rock AFB lies one of the largest state-operated military training sites in the country and home of the Arkansas National Guard.                

Camp Joseph T. Robinson, located in North Little Rock, Arkansas, is a 33,000-acre training facility of the Army National Guard. It allows service members to train year round in a wide variety of infantry, artillery and small weapons.

The National Guard Marksmanship Training Unit offers ranges and artillery firing points that provide resources for units from the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, as well as other military and law enforcement organizations.

Defenders from the 19th Security Forces Squadron at Little Rock AFB must qualify annually on a variety of weapons in order to train approximately 650 Airmen each year. Small arms weapons training conducted at Little Rock AFB includes the M4 assault rifle, M16 assault rifle and M9 pistol.

However, heavy weapons training must be conducted at other ranges including the M2 .50 caliber machine gun, M249 light machine gun, M240B machine gun and the MK19 grenade launcher.

“Camp Robinson is vital for our heavy weapons training,” said U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Trenton Lloyd, 19th SFS combat arms instructor. “We utilize Army National Guard ranges to test functionality of weapons, maintain current qualifications and initially qualify security forces and explosive ordnance disposal Airmen for deployment operations.” 

The mobility mission at Little Rock AFB requires Airmen to be prepared to provide safe and efficient combat airlift capabilities downrange as part of rapid global mobility. As a result, deployment readiness is essential to support wartime operations.

The Arkansas National Guard installations of Camp Joseph T. Robinson and Fort Chaffee together have more than 98 thousand acres to facilitate numerous live-fire training opportunities.

The Army National Guard maintains 30 ranges supporting 29 different weapon platforms, and recently invested nearly $28 million toward multiple state-of-the-art training compounds. 

“We continue to improve our ranges to allow for more complete training for combat engineers, [explosive ordnance disposal] personnel and Air Force battlefield Airmen,” said U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Davis, Camp Joseph T. Robinson range operations NCO in charge.

Army and Air Force partnerships in Arkansas provide one-of-a-kind opportunities for service members to conduct joint training and remain a significant component of the world’s largest military force.