series of tunnels, blasted out of the
earth by engineers after World War II,
lay carved into a mountain at West Fort
Hood. The complex was initially
created to store part of the U.S's
nuclear arsenal during the Cold War, but
Jan. 11, Soldiers from Ironhawk Troop,
3rd Squadron, 3d Cavalry Regiment had a
chance to "train as we fight" in a
location few people know about, and even
fewer have stepped foot in.
"We went in
to raid the tunnel complex; it was crazy
and much better than going to a range,"
said Pfc. Dwight Donahue a Squad
Automatic Weapon gunner for 1st Platoon,
Ironhawk Trp, 3rd Sqdn, 3d Cav Reg. "It
was dark and loud. Moving around in
there with the grenade simulators
echoing off the walls and the '249s
firing was very intense."
drilled explosives into the mountain to
build the tunnel complex. After
detonation they would go in and clear
out the debris and rock. Next the
workers would secure the newly formed
section with rebar and pour
18-inch-thick concrete walls. This
continued section by section until
completion where the tunnel system
stretched for well over 1.2 miles and
7,500 square feet.
was used from 1948 till the mid 60's to
maintain and store nuclear weapons
similar to 'Fat Man' and 'Little Boy',
the bombs that where detonated over
Nagasaki and Hiroshima. After
decommissioning, the tunnels where
shortly used as office space until they
were made into a training facility.
training enables Soldiers to perform
more efficiently on the battlefield.
This event is one day of a larger
training operation which also included
recon missions, an air movement and live
opposition force gives the guys a real
world scenario. It makes the guys pay
attention to detail," said Sgt. David
Silva, a squad leader for first platoon.
"They focus on their jobs and knowing
what the man to their left and right are
doing. Often in training scenarios that
don't have an enemy force the small
details get overlooked."
power in this type of training," said
Capt. Kyle Stockwell, the Ironhawk
troop commander. "This is directly
replicated in theater."