MINOT AIR FORCE BASE – Military members at Minot Air Force Base now have a completely indoor combat arms training facility.
On Friday, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the base for the new year-round Combat Arms Training and Maintenance (CATM) facility.
Tech. Sgt. William Delphia said construction began in 2018 for the indoor firing range and ended in November 2021.
“When construction ended, we moved in about a week later,” he said.
The $27 million Combat Arms Training and Maintenance facility, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, project, was constructed with appropriated Air Force Military Construction funds authorized in fiscal year 2018.
Minot AFB has the third busiest range in the U.S. Air Force and does an average of about 9,000 certifications each year.
The opening of the new facility ensures quality training and readiness for both missions at the base and in deployed environments, according to Air Force officials.
Minot AFB’s 5th Bomb Wing has B-52 bombers and the 91st Missile Wing operates, maintains and secures Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles in the Minot missile field.
Delphia said the number of those going through the facility hasn’t changed, but the change is the quality of the facility and the time in which it takes to train individuals, meaning more people are qualified faster.
Delphia said Minot’s weather is notorious.
“We have just under 200 days per year that are subfreezing temperatures so having a completely indoor facility allows us to fire more often. Every year we would have somewhere between 20 classes canceled due to weather with our old facility being partially outdoors. Being fully enclosed we don’t cancel any classes that we can do here,” he said. He said military members also wait less time to be scheduled for a class.
The facility supports small arms and machine gun training, according to Delphia.
He said the main difference in the old facility and the new one is they have taken five facilities and combined them into one self-sufficient facility.
Delphia said the old range was built in 1984 and only had two major upgrades in that time.
“Being partially outdoors it was difficult for us in the winter months to operate safely,” he said. He said the ventilation system in the new facility offers air quality exceeding Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards.
“Air quality, health, our mission readiness – in every capacity you can think of this range improves everything that the old one had,” Delphia said.