JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J.- —
Army Support Activity – Dix leaders are looking at reinstating the base as a mobilization site once again due to their training capabilities, efficiencies and strategic location.
Over the last century, the Dix-side of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst has served multiple roles in training and preparing service members for missions key to national security. The mobilization mission kicked up at Fort Dix in 1990, preparing service members for Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield, then the base stopped being a mobilization site in 2015.
“What makes this place so important is its key strategic location,” said ASA-Dix Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick McKie. “Other [installations] are much more remote; it’s just a very convenient and cost-effective spot for our nation’s Reserve components to train.”
About 55 percent of the Army is made up of Guard and Reserve components. Twenty-two percent of Guard and Reserve units are located within Joint Base MDL footprint. Guard and Reserve from all over the northeast come to Joint Base MDL because of its 17,000 acres of ranges, numerous training capabilities and its location.
The airfield, major thoroughfares, commercial airports, major ports and railways all conveniently nearby make the joint base a central hub for training service members throughout the tri-state area.
ASA-Dix has efficient processes in place, like centrally-located buildings, well-organized scheduling and a range of capabilities making it an economical training platform.
Prior to joint basing, the installations had disparate support functions. Since McGuire, Dix and Lakehurst merged in 2009, support service and training capabilities are now streamlined under one umbrella.
“By combining contracts and eliminating a lot of the overhead costs, it’s tremendously cost effective,” said Stephen G. Melly, ASA Dix deputy commander.
About 156,000 service members were trained here in 2016 and 145,000 have already gone through the base as of August 2017. The acres of training ranges, facilities, and diverse capabilities, make Joint Base MDL and accomplished, battle-tested and convenient training location so this potential return to the mobilization mission has potential to impact base and service members prepping to deploy.
“We have collective training facilities resembling a small city with tunnels and activities where Soldiers can practice how to fight in an urban environment,” said McKie. “We have a contingency operating location, which is very much like a forward operating base and a medical simulation training center that has state of the art training systems to show wound care techniques.”
ASA-Dix offers simulation centers, demolition ranges, artillery ranges, obstacle courses, leadership reaction courses, land navigation ranges, combined arms fire and the ability to handle and store 20,000 weapons just to name a few capabilities.
This vast range of capabilities make Joint Base MDL and ASA-Dix a capable and convenient training location for not only Army, National Guard, and Reserve Units, but also U.S. Air Force, Marines, local and federal law enforcement as well.
“It’s all about enabling readiness here,” said McKie. “On an individual and collective level.”