That Ruckus Rattling Your Windows Is the Navy’s Routine Bombing of Florida
FlaglerLive | January 29, 2012
Updated Jan. 28, 2012: The Navy is at it again. Nothing really new under the January sun: same ordnance, different day. Read below for the original story from last winter’s bombings, when the cold air and the winds were just right for the blast sounds, if not quite the waves, could make it to Palm Coast and Flagler County.
But not to worry: the Navy has been bombing the state for some 70 years, starting in 1941. It’s been doing so by special permit from the National Forest Service on the unfenced 5,760 acres of the Pinecastle Impact Range in the 382,000-acre Ocala National Forest in Marion County.
The Navy’s site is about 45 to 50 miles from Palm Coast as the crow flies, but “depending on the temperature and the wind and the humidity, it will determine whether the sounds in the Ocala area make it over it,” says Troy Harper, Flagler County’s emergency operations chief.
And when the atmosphere is cooler, sound travels farther, as it has today.
The site is two miles west of State Road 19 and the Camp Ocala campgrounds, and half a mile west of the Farles Lakes campground. It includes nine targets, each designated for a particular type of ordinance. For example, the Live Ordinance Impact Area, consisting of large carcasses of vehicles, is for bombs of up to 500 pounds, live ammunition of up to 30 mm and rockets of up to five inches.
The “Main Bull” area has four concentric circles of from 300 to 1200 feet with bull’s eyes in the middle. There are also night-time bombing ranges, a surface-to-air missile target site, a strafing target, a target approximating the look of a convoy, and a laser target–a 50 foot by 50 foot billboard with a painted black crosshair, according to Globalsecurity.org.
Live and non-live fire training began on the range in late January as Navy F-18 fighters have been taking off from the USS George H. W. Bush, an aircraft carrier, and from Jacksonville Naval Air Station for pilots about to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq.
The range is the only site on the East Coast where the Navy can drop live ordinance. According to globalsecurity.org, the Navy drops 20,000 bombs a year at the site, hundreds of which are live.
Training schedules may be requested during the week by calling 904/542-2415.
Originally published on Feb. 6, 2011.