October 25, 2014
Danger bombing range

95% of what’s dropped are dummy bombs, whether 2,000-pound concrete bombs or the far more numerous 25-pound BDU-33.

Photo: Michael Heape

helicopter rescue at Avon Park

An HH-60G Pave Hawk hovers above airmen from the 823rd Base Defense Squadron and 38th Rescue Squadron from Moody Air Force Base in Georgia during a medical evacuation exercise at Avon Park Air Force Range. 

Photo: U.S. Department of Defense

mounting bombs for Avon Park

SrA Vince Hill, from the 111th Fighter Wing, ARS Willow Grove, PA, mounts BDU-33 bombs on the bottom of an A-10 jet.

Photo: U.S. Department of Defense

targets at Avon Park

Targets at the Avon Park bombing range are old shipping containers, worn-out jets, dummy buildings, fake armored rocket launchers.

Photo: U.S. Department of Defense

soldier training at Avon Park

Soldiers train among mock villages. The range average a visiting unit training about every third day.

Photo: U.S. Department of Defense

Concrete bombs

Concrete bombs encased in metal are recovered from the range during regular cleanups.

Photo: Michael Heape

Charles

"The more you sweat in peacetime, the less you bleed in combat. We try to make this as realistic as possible." -- Charles “Buck” MacLaughlin, operations director and former range commander

Photo: Michael Heape

Avon Park

Most of the range’s acreage is buffer land, home to unspoiled scrub and prairie habitat and 14 endangered or threatened species.

Photo: Carlton Ward Jr.

Anhinga at Avon Park

An anhinga (water bird) in Avon Park. The Air Force has funded 20 years of ecological research by Archbold Biological Station and employs four environmental researchers. 

Photo: Carlton Ward Jr.

Airman at Avon Park

An airman secures a bomb at the Avon Park Air Force Range.

Photo: U.S. Department of Defense

aerial of Avon Park

Aerial of Avon Park Air Force Range in Central Florida.

Photo: U.S. Department of Defense

soldiers exercise at Avon Park

Staff Sgt. Cody McNorton and Senior Airman Joseph Flynn call in information during exercise Atlantic Strike Feb. 15, 2011, at Avon Park Air Force Range

Photo: U.S. Air Force - Senior Airman Amber Williams

Airman at Avon Park

A U.S. Airman assigned to the 147th Air Support Operations Squadron, 147th Reconnaissance Wing, Texas Air National Guard tests equipment during a close air support training exercise at Avon Park Air Force Range.

Photo: U.S. Air National Guard

jet landing at Avon Park

A jet landing at the Avon Park Air Force Range in Central Florida.

Photo: U.S. Department of Defense

soldiers at Avon Park

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgts. Eric Braddock, left, and Ryan Onely prepare a simulated casualty for a medical evacuation during a training mission at Avon Park Air Force Range.

Photo: Staff Sgt. Jamal D. Sutter, U.S. Air Force

targets at Avon Park

More targets at the Avon Park bombing range.

Photo: U.S. Department of Defense

Test bomb

Test bomb being dropped over Avon Park bombing range.

Photo: U.S. Department of Defense

Defense

Avon Park Air Force Range - a photo gallery

The bombing range is in Central Florida.

| 8/29/2014

An excerpt from the story, "Home on the Bombing Range," from Florida Trend's September 2014 issue:

It’s another day at the Avon Park Air Force Range, at 106,034 acres the largest bomb and gunnery range east of the Mississippi.

Beyond the concrete runway lie mock villages, a mock airfield, laser-guided weapons practice fields, helicopter landing zones and airborne drop zones. The range averages a visiting unit training about every third day. Depending on the day, you might find local law enforcement practicing emergency driving skills on the runway or helicopters training to shoot a moving target riding along a rail. Airborne troops might float down by parachute and call in an airstrike, or Army choppers may be firing Hellfire missiles...

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