JOHNSTON, Iowa- Around eight years back leaders of the Iowa National Guard base in Johnston realized there was a shortage in the training they were giving soldiers. When in countries like Iraq, soldiers would find themselves going door to door in cities in combat. State Quarter Master Ben Correll told a group gathered at Camp Dodge Wednesday, “there was a time when we looked at urban operations in the military, and we kind of gave it a hand wave, and said we’ll bypass the urban areas and fight the enemy somewhere else.”
The Urban Assault Course is the answer to those concerns over having soldiers ready for that type of combat. Correll expressed gratitude to Congressman Tom Latham, who helped secure funding for the $2.7 million dollar project. “We rely on you folks to enable us to come back here, and train our soldiers to send them off to do the job we ask them to do,” said Correll.
“It’s the kind of facility that will help not only our men and women in uniform,which go in harm’s way in very difficult situations but also law enforcement which will also be using this,” said Congressman Latham.
The facility offers a 5 lane training course with an 800 square foot operations building, and a new 200 square foot ammunition break down building. Construction began in July of 2013. The course features a 3 story house like building with small rooms and stairs to simulate combat in a house. There is also what looks like a market alley in a middle eastern town, which according to one soldier is very realistic.
“I turned the corner and walked down that alley and I had just a cold sweat run down my back because I saw this before,” said Correll who was speaking of a small town in Iraq, this course reminded him of that experience.
The project was designed by Brooks, Borg, and Skiles Architecture Engineering of Des Moines. The general contractor was Rochon Corporation of Urbandale.