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Marines demo weapons for proposed range

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - The military is gearing up for a series of scoping meetings this month to discuss the plans in the Supplemental Environmental Impact Study that would detail the proposed live firing range for the Marines. "This is serious business that the Marine Corps does here in this theater," Said Marine Forces Pacific Forward Officer in Charge Colonel Robert Loynd.

"Serious" is the word to best describe the several weapons displayed at the Marine Corps' activity Guam facility on NCTS this afternoon. It's the very weapons the marines will be training with on the live firing range proposed for the island. Loynd says the most destructive weapon that will be used is the M2 .50-caliber heavy machine gun. He said, "Nothing larger than that, there will be no mortars, no artillery and I think the citizens can rest assure that what the mayors are being shown here today is what we will be firing on Guam."

The M2 fires at a maximum range of 2,000 meters. Another weapon is the ML-19 that has a max range of 2,200 meters, and the M240g that has a max range of 2.3 miles. Colonel Loynd says marines will train with inert rounds. Several more weapons that will be fired at the range - the M16 that shoots 2,600 feet, the M249-SAW that can load 600 rounds of linked ammo the M4 that's a smaller version of the M16, and the M9 service pistol. Marines will also train with M67 fragmentation grenades.

Colonel Loynd says the range will not only service the Marines, saying, "There's some partnering opportunities that we are excited about and we are going to work very closely with the Guam National Guard, with the joint service partners who also possess these weapons and also local police agencies."

Marine Corps Activity Guam currently has eleven personnel, and thousands more expected as the discussion continues on the number that will relocate to the territory. Yigo vice mayor Ron Flores and Santa Rita mayor Dale Alvarez say today's demonstration proves that Guam is ready to take on whatever the Marines have planned.

The DoD is proposing to establish the training range in either Yigo along Route 15 or in the Naval Magazine area in Santa Rita. The former said, "It gives me a better understanding as to why they need the certain type of ranges and the concepts that they are going to have for the ranges that's being proposed."

Ans Alvarez said, "I grew up in Santa Rita and Naval Magazine there has always been a firing range and the only thing that's going to bother us is the noise at night when they shoot, that's about it I don't think there any danger to Santa Rita and its not going to effect the village."

The SEIS study is expected to take another 18 to 24 months to complete.

The public scoping meeting will begin on March 17 at the UOG Field House, then on the 19th at Southern High and finally on the 20th at the Yigo Gym. 

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