Maine Army National Guard unveils Woodville training site

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 4:22 PM EDT
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WOODVILLE, Maine (WABI) - A 5,500-acre Maine National Guard training site is being built in Penobscot County in the town of Woodville, just eight miles north of Lincoln.

TV5 boarded a Black Hawk helicopter Wednesday in Bangor and flew to the site with the Maine National Guard to see how this will help them carry out their mission.

The mission of the Maine National Guard is to be “Always Ready” to support our state and beyond.

It’s a mission the men and women of the Guard take seriously as they step forward to defend our home.

Training typically takes one weekend each month, with a two-week training period once a year.

“Training time for soldiers is so valuable for our units as we prepare for the challenges,” said Lt. Col. Shanon Cotta, who oversees the Maine Army National Guard (MEARNG) training site in Woodville.

According to the Guard, existing training facilities in Maine cannot host battalion-sized units or the full suite of required demolition, rifle and machine gun training.

This means most soldiers must travel out of state to places like Vermont and Massachusetts, or even New Brunswick to conduct training.

The Maine Army National Guard (MEARNG) is improving their ability to train soldiers with their Woodville Training Site. The project began in 2013.

With the addition of the Woodville training site, Maine National Guard soldiers will be able to spend less time traveling to training and more time training.

“Having a large facility - whether it’s the explosives that are going to be trained on here or whether it’s the eventual 1,500-meter range for crew-served weapons that’ll enable soldiers and airmen to have more time training on their equipment, versus spending a lot of their drill traveling to out of state facilities,” explained Maj. Carl Lamb, Public Affairs Officer for the Maine National Guard.

TV5 boarded a Black Hawk helicopter Wednesday in Bangor and flew to the site with the Guard to...
TV5 boarded a Black Hawk helicopter Wednesday in Bangor and flew to the site with the Guard to see how this will help them carry out their mission.(WABI)

The Maine Army National Guard will conduct live-fire training from May through October during monthly drill weekends and during unit annual trainings.

In addition to the ranges, the site also includes eight miles of renovated gravel roads and trails, multiple support structures like parking and camp sites, as well as Land Navigation compass courses through the woods.

At the heart of this project was plenty of planning and management, especially when it comes to helping the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife manage rare, threatened, and endangered species.

“The Maine National Guard did actually receive a Secretary of the Army award for all of the effort that is being done to preserve the environment,” said Lamb. “We’re the Guard. We’re all Mainers. We’re all here, and we grew up just like every other Mainer, hunting and fishing and enjoying the outdoors, so we’re doing everything we can to dot all our I’s and cross all our T’s to make sure we’re doing what we need to do.”

This development also promises to bring a boost to business in the Lincoln and Millinocket areas.

“We anticipate a lot of units utilizing this facility and being a true benefit to the community,” said Cotta.

Click here to learn more about the Woodville Training Area.