“Fury Road”: Westover’s new tactical vehicle training route

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Natalia Vazquez Torres
  • 439th Airlift Wing

The initiative to provide Reserve Airmen with local resources to complete their required training officially came to fruition in the form of a new training route, called Fury Road.

Inaugurated on July 15th, Fury Road is Westover’s new tactical vehicle training route, designed to ensure Airmen get their annual expeditionary training requirements.

“I did some research and found out that over 400 Airmen on this base required tactical vehicle training in some way,” said Charles Carlin, the 439th Airlift Wing Plans and Exercises director.

Carlin said the 439th Civil Engineering Squadron and the 439th Logistics Readiness Squadron were units in need of tactical vehicle training, that weren’t able to get it as frequently as was required; as well the 439th Security Forces Squadron, who could also benefit from it as part of their mission enhancement training.

This unique asset to Westover is located near the Dog Patch expeditionary training area, which Carlin said allows for reservists to set up camp and have quick access to the training road.

“There are tons of opportunities for opposition forces like actors role-playing attacks,” said Carlin.

He also said he worked with the 439th CES, as well as tenant units: U.S. Army Reserve unit 302nd Maneuver Enhancement Brigade and U.S. Marine Corps Reserve unit 472nd Marine Wing Support Squadron, to get this project accomplished.

“They did their annual tour here at Westover,” explained Carlin. “This gave them something to do that applied to their career field. It really was a win-win.”

Carlin said they utilized the flight line’s leftover milling after renovation, as well as leftover pipes that they could reuse, among other materials.

“Everything there was free and reclaimed around Westover, except for the road signs,” he said. “It was all donated labor and free materials.”

From its official inauguration, Fury Road has already had five convoys in a training exercise for Airmen, as well as being used by the 472nd MWSS and the 302nd MEB for training requirements.

“Now you actually have an area where you can run that exercise and it’s not going to impede day to day base operations,” said Senior Master Sgt. Gregory Pauli, the 439th Explosive Ordnance Disposal program manager.

He said some of the training the units are now capable of doing are counter Improvised Explosive Devices operations, food resupply operations, and ambushes while driving on rough terrains.

“It would work out to a savings of $200,000 in training each year,” said Carlin.

The creation of this tactical vehicle training road not only serves Airmen and the other military services, but also other defense agencies as well.

"We actually booby-trapped Fury Road for dog handlers,” said Pauli. “And they patrolled their canines. They went through all their different IED scenarios.”

Among the many considerations this project required, were the environmental impacts to the protected wetlands and species that inhabit them.

“There were tons of environmental red tape, and governmental bureaucracy,” said Carlin. “The CES team helped submit the packages and get all the approvals.”

John Cody, the 439th CES environmental engineer, said he worked on the permits with the city of Chicopee.

“We partnered with the Chicopee Conservation Commission,” said Cody. “They are fantastic to work with.”

Units from other bases have already started scheduling annual training at Fury Road.

“We’re hoping to open it up to other AFRC units across the command,” said Carlin. “This is an opportunity to come out and get some tactical vehicle training.”