GUERNSEY – The Wyoming Military Department will soon ask for public input regarding an environmental assessment of the training areas at Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center.
According to Maj. Gen. Greg Porter, Wyoming’s adjutant general, the environmental assessment will evaluate the effects of implementing a proposal to train with the new High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, also known as HIMARS, in the North Training Area northwest of Guernsey and Guernsey State Park.
Porter and Camp Guernsey command staff delivered a presentation to the public to discuss the steps in the camp’s environmental assessment during a meeting at Guernsey Town Hall on Wednesday.
“They are a little bit different than our cannons,” Porter said. “We used to have cannons but now we have rockets. When a significant change comes in, you really should do an environmental assessment and see if there are any impacts.”
The rocket’s impact area, Porter said, is in the southwest part of the North Training Area. Rockets will launch from the northern part of the training area.
HIMARS is a lightweight mobile launcher which is transportable via C-130 and larger aircraft for rapid deployment, that fires Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System rockets and Army Tactical Missile System missiles, according to its manufacturer, Lockheed Martin.
It consists of a launcher loader module and fire control system mounted on a five-ton truck chassis. A specialized armored cab provides additional protection to the three crew members that operate the system.
Porter said the most likely environmental impact from training on the new rocket launching system is noise.
“That’s really about the only thing about the rockets that is different is the noise piece,” he said. “Even the studies we’ve done don’t appear to change (the environmental impact) much, but they need to read the environmental assessment and make that decision for themselves.”
The environmental assessment will be available online at wyomilitary.wyo.gov and at county libraries at the end of the month. The open public review and comment period will take place from Feb. 26 to March 11.
Officials from the National Guard Bureau will review comments from March 11-17 and a town hall meeting to review findings and address questions is scheduled for April 16.
Porter, who has conducted two other meetings with local residents, said he was hosting the meeting so lines of communication can remain open between the Wyoming Military Department and the residents of Platte and Goshen counties.
“I made a commitment to make sure that we communicate with our neighbors,” Porter said.
Once generally considered a summer-based training area for the Army National Guard, the camp accommodates year-round training for all branches of the military and has hosted units from outside the United States.
The installation contains several scattered pieces of land in the northeast part of Platte County and includes north and south training areas.