A dedication ceremony was held on Monday for an $11.5 million training range for the Navy SEALs at Fort Story.
The facility will allow SEALs to experience combat scenarios while training at home. The facility has 52 rooms spread over 26,500 square feet, an area that is about the same size as a grocery store. It will be used as a live-fire range by groups of local Navy SEALs, which means that they will use real ammunition in their guns.
The walls of the facility are made of half-inch steel plates covered with a layer of rubber, as well as a few inches of Styrofoam. Bullets are kept from ricocheting by the steel and rubber, which traps them. The Styrofoam layer, on the other hand, re-creates what SEALs will encounter in a third-world country. These layers are created by a California-based company that used to design sets for Hollywood.
The range is divided into four zones by steel doors, allowing four groups to train simultaneously. The scenarios in the range include a mosque, bank, post office, market and residential compound. One scenario depicts an elementary school classroom, while another is like a torture chamber.
Capt. Tim Szymanski, the commodore of Naval Special Warfare Group Two, shared that many of the details of the scenarios were taken from actual raids conducted over the past ten years.
Larry Pacifico, a retired SEAL who manages the complex, shared that the lighting and movement of the targets in the various scenarios may be controlled by instructors using an iPad. Cameras will record what goes on, and the SEALs will be able to trace where the bullets that they fired came to rest.