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Yuma Proving Ground Army Base - Yuma County, AZ

 

 

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YPG's Child Development Center held its annual "family fun day" April 19th to celebrate childhood around the world -- not to mention that April is the Army's annual celebration of the Month of the Military Child. YPG's Child Development Center offers early childhood day care and education services to youngsters in ages six months to around five years.

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The danger of rattlesnakes returns to the desert southwest each year as warm weather returns. A number of venomous snake reports have come from YPG's Laguna Army Airfield area and four sightings of Western Diamondback snakes were reported during a single night in the Kofa Firing Range area. All YPG workers are advised to remain extra-vigilant when walking around the outside of buildings and in rocky terrain. One law enforcement official recently said he has not seen this many snakes around in five years. Be careful out there! (The first of the attached photos is of one of the snakes spotted at KFR.)

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Here's a sight at YPG that hasn't been seen in many years. The Navy 16 inch gun still remains in position, but it hasn't fired in quite a long time. That's because the Navy no longer operates battleships and does not use 16 inch gun technology. Life goes on!

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Lee Ermey, the Golden Globe-nominated actor, passed away at the age of 74 earlier this week. He visited YPG on two occasions to film television programs, visiting with members of the workforce each time. Here are a few photos from those visits.

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Just about any armored vehicle used by U.S. forces, as well as many from other friendly nations, can be seen on YPG ranges at one time or another. The Stryker vehicle has been a recurring visitor for many years. This photo shows it traversing YPG's dust course, which has a surface of fine talcum-powder like dust that severely strains engine seals and filters.

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At 1300 square miles in size, Yuma Proving Ground is home to a huge diversity of wildlife, from wild burros and bighorn sheep to desert tortoises and Sonoran pronghorns. Smaller creatures like 15 species of lizards are also in abudance, with one of particular interest -- the Mohave Fringe-toed lizard.

The species is of concern because many parts of the West have become so developed or inundated with invasive plants that the species is considered endangered and threatened. YPG's remote sand dunes, far from civilization and actively used test areas, are rarely traversed by people or equipment. The lizards are thriving there amid the wind-blown sand.

A YPG wildlife biologist and an Arizona Fish and Game herpitologist recently traveled to the dunes where they tracked and inspected several of the lizards, not harming them in any way.

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Field artillery Soldiers based at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, are teaming up with testers at the YPG-managed Cold Regions Test Center to perform rigorous operational testing on a new precision targeting device called the "Joint Effects Targeting System." They are using the device in a wide spectrum of operations, including in a simulated urban environment. The JETS is a modular advanced sensor suite used as a tool to detect and acquire targets.

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month at YPG, as it is at all Army installations. The proving ground kicked off a full month of educational and informative events with the third annual Color Fun Run in early April. After YPG Commander Col. Ross Poppenberger and Command Sgt. Maj Jamathon Nelson signed a proclamation decreeing April as Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, more than 100 members of the YPG family participated in the actual run. Given that April is also the Month of the Military Child, participants ran through the Child Development Center where youngsters got in on the color-spraying fun.

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U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground is the Army's center of excellence for the testing of indirect fire weapons, which includes both artillery and mortar systems. The attached photos show mortar testing at the proving ground.

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Arizona Army National Guard Soldiers have trained at Yuma Proving Ground on a sporadic basis for many years, here making good use of a YPG small arms firing range. The primary mission of the proving ground is testing weapon systems and munitions, however, which amounts to well over 90 percent of the annual workload.

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Nine staffers from Arizona Congressional offices, as well as other officials and members of the Yuma 50 local military support group, visited YPG for about five hours in early April. After a detailed briefing from YPG Commander Col. Ross Poppenberger, they spent an adventurous, stimulating morning inspecting then riding armored vehicles, witnessing YPG artillery testing, viewing unmanned aircraft and a variety of sensor testing, radar systems, and much more. It was an eye-opening visit for many and it went extremely well.

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Here are more photos of the over 140 local high schoolers who visited test activities to see science in action in late March. YPG was happy to help encourage our young people to consider technical career fields when making future career decisions.

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Command Sgt. Maj. Jamathon K. Nelson assumed the highest enlisted leadership position at YPG today in a change of responsibility ceremony presided over by YPG Commander Col. Ross Poppenberger.

Hailing from the U.S. Army Asymmetric Warfare Group at Fort Meade, Md., Nelson stressed safety and the vital importance of YPG's test mission to the Warfighter in remarks to the audience following the ceremony. He also pledged to foster the same camaraderie between the military and civilian workforce that outgoing Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Prosser was widely praised for. "I look forward to working with everybody here," he said. "I promise to give you 100%."

"Only the best NCOs and Officers are selected for command positions," said Poppenberger. "I know Command Sgt. Maj. Nelson is well-prepared to continue the outstanding work Command Sgt. Maj. Prosser has done here and move us forward as a team."

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Nearly 150 area high school students visited YPG March 28th to witness the use of scientific principles and the scientific method in use each day at the proving ground. Highlights included inspecting and riding armored vehicles, witnessing artillery firing, learning about unmanned aircraft and night vision equipment, and much more. One thing that caused everyone to stop in their tracks and watch was the sight of an armored M88 recovery vehicle driving over a civilian car. It proved to be an exciting, interesting and fun morning that, hopefully, encouraged young people to consider the technical fields in making career choices.

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This is Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Prosser's final week in his position at the proving ground. He has been here nearly two years and is moving on to a new position at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The new YPG Command Sergeant Major will be Jamathon Nelson.

Command Sgt. Maj. Prosser made a big impact at the proving ground by initiating new activities and strongly supporting community events. These photos were taken at his recent farewell luncheon at YPG's Cactus Cafe Restaurant.

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Yuma Proving Ground consists of 1300 square miles of Sonoran Desert that is home to a great many animals. Members of the workforce encounter creatures of all sorts each day on the range.

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The National Space and Aeronautics Administration (NASA) has been testing the parachutes to be used for the earth descent of the Orion space capsule for use in future space exploration at U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground for several years. YPG maintains the largest parachute drop zone in the entire Western United States and controls most of the airspace over the proving ground from the ground into outer space -- a unique asset most military installations cannot boast. The most recent NASA test took place at the proving ground March 16th.

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Drivers and car passengers see little of U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground as they drive along Highway 95, which can lead to a dead wrong conclusion. The 1300 square mile proving ground is about one-third the size of the State of Massachusetts, so it is a huge place. A wide variety of military equipment and munitions test programs take place at YPG each day of the year, from giant 155mm artillery pieces and 60 ton main battle tanks to swift unmanned aircraft and parachute systems. The YPG workforce numbers over 2400.

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YPG military personnel play an enthusiastic role whenever community outreach events take place in downtown Yuma. The attached photos are of YPG personnel at the early March 2018 Yuma Military Appreciation Day at which the proving ground displayed equipment. Interaction with the public occured throughout the day!

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As in past years, U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground presented a large display in mid-March of military equipment at the annual Yuma Air Show at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma. Attracting tens of thousands, huge crowds mobbed the YPG exhibit throughout the day to gaze at the armored Stryker, MATV and Bradley vehicles, as well as an M119A2 howitzer, a Puma unmanned aircraft, a C-27J "Spartan" aircraft flown by YPG's Military Freefall School, a large display of parachute equipment, variety of mock weapons, and more. Many asked questions of technical experts or surveyed copies of the Outpost, YPG's twice monthly newspaper. YPG Commander Col. Ross Poppenberger and Technical Director Larry Bracamonte stopped by, as well as other top YPG officials. It proved time well spent and the YPG personnel who worked all day went home tired but satisfied.

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The gates are open at the Yuma Air Show, and early bird spectators are already enjoying YPG’s exhibit in Area 4. An M-ATV, a M119 howitzer, a Bradley Fighting Vehicle, a Stryker, and a Puma unmanned aircraft are all here to see, as are Soldiers from YPG’s Airborne Test Force with parachute gear to try on. Stop by and say hello!

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Two NASA astronauts visited YPG late this week to witness NASA space capsule parachute testing taking place at the proving ground. While here, they took the opportunity to tour YPG facillities and meet with YPG personnel, including Soldiers making up YPG's Airborne Test Force. Both astronauts have flown in space and have advanced scientific degrees.

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YPG gunners prepare a towed howitzer before firing rounds on YPG's Kofa Firing Range. YPG's gunners, most of whom boast many years experience and have fired thousands of rounds, are all civilians who reside in Yuma.

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Despite taking place on an unpredicted rainy day, Yuma's annual Military Appreciation Day took place in downtown Yuma on Saturday, March 10th. Over one thousand people coped with the drizzly downpour, asking lots of questions, viewing loads of interesting exhibits and seeing some great entertainment. U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground put its best foot forward by displaying an M119 howitzer and an armored vehicle, as well as mock firearms, parachutes used in YPG testing and much more. Thank you, Yuma, for supporting the military!

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