Dyess AFB unveils new indoor $4.3 million combat range

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DYESS AIR FORCE BASE, Texas - The 7th Security Force Squadron at Dyess Air Force Base unveiled a new indoor combat range facility Friday.

The brand new, state of the art facility cost $4.3 million.

"We are totally excited because we have been waiting for this range to open for over a year, so this is just a big deal for Team Dyess," said Major Sarah Babbitt, Commander for the 7th Security Force Squadron.

"This is huge. Everyone on base uses the range, not just the security forces. It is a team effort out here. We have to train all of our airmen to go downrange, so this is a big deal."

The range has room for 21 shooters.

The new range will allow service members to maintain and receive new qualifications for firearms.

The airmen say the facility is critical for training and it comes with added benefits.

"So we used to bring our airmen in the morning around 4 AM to catch the night firing part, then we let them go take a break for a couple hours and come back and fire the rest of the course during the day, with this range, we don't have to do that," said Babbitt.

"We can get it all knocked out, so it shortens the classes and gives airmen sometime back and allows more shooters to qualify at a single time."

Along with opening a new facility, there was a special moment for two airmen as well. The airmen re-enlisted in the Air Force.

One of those who re-enlisted, Luis Angel Fontanez says he is looking forward to using the new range.

"Oh I love it, have you seen our old range? It is pretty bad. State of the art technology now, we have all the fancy stuff, its great," said Fontanez.

Up until today, the 7th Security Force Squadron used the Abilene Police Department's range, which is at least ten miles from Dyess.

Now, the squadron has a place to call their own.

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