The Army weapons depot situated in Hawthorne, Nevada, has reportedly been used by the Marines and the Navy SEALs to train for deployments to Afghanistan, and two US senators – Senators Harry Reid and John Ensign are saying that the Army should follow suit and “expand training opportunities” to the area.
The outpost lies to the east of Reno, Nevada and is described in a feature on the Navy Times as the “largest ammunition storage facility in the continental United States.” Among the features that figure prominently in its landscapes are high altitudes and high deserts, making the area ideal for use as a stand-in for Afghanistan for soldiers who are preparing for deployment.
In a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh dated January 27, the two senators wrote that they were “concerned that the Armed Forces do not currently have a designated high desert training area and facilities to support preparation for current operations and potential contingency operations,” adding further that the Hawthorne outpost “is an ideal location for preparing our service members for the terrain, altitude, climate and logistical challenges they currently face in Afghanistan.”
The Marines have been known to use the area for “live-fire training and realistic combat re-supply operations with simulated roadside bomb scenarios.” Army Special Forces units, on the other hand, used the area to “conduct combat drills, dismounted patrols and other training in the high-desert terrain.”
The senators wrote further: “The harsh contours and rocky terrain create challenges that force tactical adaptations that can only be properly rehearsed in that environment. The roads and trails at Hawthorne closely approximate those our troops will find in Afghanistan and the Hindu Kush.”