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Monday, April 15, 2024

U.S. Navy testing live, inert bombs in Ocala National Forest this week

The U.S. Navy will be conducting live and inert bomb testing in the Ocala National Forest this week, beginning on Tuesday, February 27.

According to the U.S. Forest Service National Forests in Florida, the training exercises will take place at the Pinecastle Range Complex, which is located in the Ocala National Forest, on the following dates/times:

  • Tuesday, February 27 – 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Live/Inert)
  • Wednesday, February 28 – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Live/Inert)
  • Thursday, February 29 – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Live/Inert)
  • Friday, March 1 – 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (LiveInert)
U.S. Navy Pinecastle Bombing Range Complex
The U.S. Navy Pinecastle Bombing Range Complex

The Pinecastle Bombing Range spans over 5,700 acres, and the Navy drops nearly 20,000 bombs there each year. In addition to inert (inactive) bombs, 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 traveling 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 U.S. Forest Service in a social media post. “Always be mindful of larger animals including black bears and practice BearWise measures.”

Any noise complaints should be submitted via email to: nasjax.noisecomplaints@us.navy.mil.

For more information, visit the U.S. Forest Service’s National Defense Land Use webpage.