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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

U.S. Navy to test bombs in Ocala National Forest

The U.S. Navy will conduct live and inert bomb tests in the Ocala National Forest beginning on Tuesday, September 5.

According to Naval Air Station Jacksonville, the Navy will use live and inert bombs during training exercises that will take place on Tuesday, September 5 through Thursday, September 7 at the Pinecastle Range Complex, which is located in the Ocala National Forest.

U.S. Navy Pinecastle Bombing Range Complex
The U.S. Navy Pinecastle Bombing Range Complex

On each of the training dates, the bomb testing will occur in the morning (9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.) and afternoon (2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.).

The Pinecastle Bombing Range spans nearly 5,700 acres, and the Navy is authorized to use 500-, 1,000-, and 2,000-pound live bombs during the testing.

According to the Navy, training with live air-to-ground ordnance is critical to achieving and maintaining combat readiness. The U.S. Forest Service states on its website that this element of training “cannot be simulated by computer modeling and/or inert ordnance delivery and is typically conducted just prior to combat deployment to overseas theater.”

Motorists near the Ocala National Forest and surrounding areas are encouraged to use extra caution since wildlife may be temporarily displaced during the bombing periods.

“Secure any items around your residence that could attract wildlife,” states the Naval Air Station Jacksonville on its website. “Always be mindful of larger animals, including black bears and practice BearWise measures.”

Any citizens wanting to make a noise complaint should call the Fleet Area Control and Surveillance Facility in Jacksonville at: 1-800-874-5059, or send a written complaint via email to: nasjax.noisecomplaints@us.navy.mil.

To learn more about National Defense Land Use in the Ocala National Forest, visit the U.S. Forest Service’s website.