Fort Bragg unveils unique subterranean training facility

Cumberland County News

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WNCN) — Thursday the media was allowed an inside look at a new subterranean training range at Fort Bragg.

“The first time to find yourself in a subterranean facility is not in Afghanistan,” said Fort Bragg’s Installation Range Officer Wolf Amacker.

Amacker spent decades serving the United States in war zones around the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan.  

“Just like you hear the gunfire behind me, those are soldiers currently training for combat,” Amacker said. “Exactly what they’re going to do in the facility behind me.”

The facility has nearly a mile of above- and below-ground tunnels — all simulating what it’s like being underground in a combat zone.

“The units don’t have to see this for the very first time in combat,” Amacker said. “Now they can practice it and all the problems that they may encounter and work out how they’re going to get over those before they deploy.” 

Soldiers will be navigating the different barriers in the dark, without radio communication.

“You have to figure out a way. How can I communicate with the people that are supporting me, and people are coming up with new and more innovative ways every single day,” Amacker said.

There are hidden rooms and obstacles built-in to the structure throughout the tunnels.

“You can literally walk into a room, pull a drapery aside on a wall and find a hole in the wall and figure out ‘OK that goes somewhere, I have to figure out where it goes’,” Amacker said.

This was designed by people like Amacker, who’ve been in real underground combat zones and know what to expect.

“Everything is difficult and everything is hard,” Amacker said. “All the problems that you encounter are multiplied by a factor of 10.”

From conventional to highly classified units, the U.S. Army will train here day and night to get soldiers as prepared as possible.

“In stressful situations you always revert to what you know,” Amacker said. “They should automatically react without thinking, instinctive.”

Service members will start using the facility in about three weeks.

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