MARINE CORPS RECRUIT DEPOT PARRIS ISLAND, S.C. --
Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island and the Eastern Recruiting Region are soon to complete construction of the new Hue City Rifle Range (pronounced way) in April of 2022.
Hue City was originally opened in the 1940’s when it was constructed as a rifle range to train recruits aboard the Depot. Now, almost 80 years later, Hue City has received many improvements to optimize not only recruit training, but the operations of the fleet Marine Force as well.
The 34-million dollar project began in October 2019, and was estimated to complete in October of 2021. However, after a few setbacks, the range is now expected to open in April for rifle qualifications.
“Hue City is one of our four known distance ranges that we use for entry level marksmanship, training, and annual rifle qualification,” said Lt. Colonel Eubanks. “That's a big part of what we do here, not only just training recruits, but also providing the infrastructure for units in the tri-command area, security forces, Kings Bay, and Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany.”
Each year, the four Parris Island ranges train roughly 20,000 recruits, meaning that one lone range can see up to 5,000 shooters in a year, not counting the Fleet Marine Forces that use the same ranges.
“Every time we do an Annual Rifle Qualification (ARQ), 50% of the quota goes to the Air Station [MCAS Beaufort],” said Eubanks. “The rest of this goes to internal depot units, Kings Bay and all these tri-command units. Supporting the air station and the annual requirements of everybody that is here, that's huge.”
While the range itself still handles the same aspects of the other ranges aboard the Depot, it also differs in its’ engineering, boasting a new type of barrier war, as well as a new berm wall.
“The berm wall is there to prevent projectiles going into Ribbon Creek and the surrounding waterways to protect not only the environment, but also, if civilians happen to go into the waterways behind the ranges,” said Eubanks.
Not only does the range improve the safety of civilians and the areas around it, but it also has a unique difference on the firing lines in relation to the other ranges.
“There's also a noticeable difference in the firing lines,” said Eubanks. “They've been raised 12 feet and that's to prevent flooding, so we can continue range operations even in inclement weather.”
One of the most notable improvements was the introduction of modular projectile absorbing panels into the berm walls of the range.
“Every so often the range has to be closed for maintenance on the berm walls, just because they become so saturated with metals,” said Eubanks. “This range is built for longevity using a projectile absorbing material. The panels are modular, meaning if a panel gets damaged or needs to be replaced, we can easily replace it without having to shut down the range for a couple of weeks. This should be repaired in a matter of days.”
With Marines having the motto of “Every Marine a Rifleman”, the continual support of range operations is essential to mission success.
Overall, the renovations to Hue City aim to sustain operations longer, reduce the required maintenance, and boast overall longevity of the range. Hue City is estimated to serve around 4,000 recruits in the remainder of this year alone, and reserves a place in history that still continues to support Depot operations.