Letter to VA Gazette’s The Last Word (June 24, 2019)

In response to the reader who wrote that a tactical training range in eastern New Kent County would be an asset in the county, I find their notion quite simplistic.

As a retired Marine Corps officer, I have spent time working at Marine Corps Base (MCB), Quantico, as a student and as a special projects officer. There is no favorable comparison between the 200+ acre proposed tactical training school in New Kent County and the 55,000+ acre Marine Corps base. MCB Quantico provides training for commissioned officers (primarily) of the Marine Corps, agents of the FBI, the DEA, and other such governmental agencies, along with 54 ranges for live-ammunition and demolitions training. All ranges follow Department of Defense and Department of Energy guidelines for safe operation, including extensive exclusion zones around the ranges. A Range Control unit manages all training on the ranges and coordinates with base personnel who must enter exclusion zones as part of their work on base.

There have been several scientific studies of noise generated by range activities and the findings show that noise from artillery and demolition ranges can be heard 10 miles from the range being used, although at ten miles the noise would not startle a person.

The proposed tactical training range did not have the necessary land to properly house the proposed training venues, to prevent pollution of local waterways and the Chesapeake Bay, to prevent and extinguish accidental brushfires, to block noise, or to prevent damage or injury from stray bullets. It is possible for a bullet to bypass the berms built to stop and contain them, based on personal experience, even with the Range Control unit operating and communicating with all parties. I cannot comment on the safety provided by the nearness of MCB Quantico because I lived in on-base housing; however, I was part of a Marine military police unit assigned to an Army base in the mid-1970s, following an on-base robbery of about one million dollars and other problems, both on- and off-base.

Alan J. Neumann, Ph. D.
Barhamsville, VA

The Virginia Gazette, Saturday, June 22, 2019 — Page 34/last page

New Kent range

May I make a suggestion to the new Kent Planning Commission, which tabled the vote on the combat range there? You want that range there. In Northern Virginia, you have Quantico, which is range training, and you’ve got the FBI training center up there. We had a custom home built near there and they had a guard base nearby; you’re not hearing the noise and you’re in the safest place in the whole state. It is not going to destroy your property value. In fact, from the time we bought the property until now (our property has been resold), it went up four times in value. A lot of people who have been in the military and Justice Department want to go there. Your families are safe. It is an advantage, not a disadvantage. And for people to think they’re going to have flying bullets hit your house — not going to happen. That’s not even dealing with reality.

NOTE: This is an unsigned letter to the Gazette.