Marines training with Abrams tanks near Fort Knox
FORT KNOX, Ky. (WDRB) -- Every few weeks the calls come flooding in to the WDRB newsroom, asking "what are those loud booms I hear from Fort Knox?"
Likely it's training on Abrams tanks, and be warned -- it's happening again Wednesday night.
It's the kind of sound that shakes your whole body: a gunner letting loose from a 70-ton Abrams tank.
"It will produce a muzzle noise coming out of the main gun and that's the noise they hear," said Marine Gunnery Sgt. Matthew Dordal.
Only one reserve marine tank detachment is based at Fort Knox since the armor school relocated.
Wednesday, 60 Marines were out training.
"For us it's tanks weapons training, anything that's going to help us train for a combat situation that may arise," Dordal said.
The Abrams tank was used in Iraq and is still being used in Afghanistan.
This Fort Knox Marine detachment is a year back from a deployment in Helmud province.
Their mission was to scout roadside bombs -- IEDs.
The tank range is about 45 minutes from the Wilson gate at Fort Knox, located in a valley to help muffle the sound. But actually the cloud conditions play a role in what nearby residents hear.
"Sounds travel in waves and so the clouds tend to reflect sound waves, even focus them over great distances," said range operations officer Stuart Holder.
Each tank holds a four-person crew.
"You move up to the loader -- that's really the heavy-lifting job because you're picking up 60 pound rounds trying to shove them in a gun tube so that's probably the worst job," Dordal said.
And yes, training at night is essential.
"We don't intentionally set it up that way to upset the neighbors but the only way to make sure that you're proficient in shooting at night is to shoot at night," Holder said.
Blame the booms on these guys.
Sixty Marines will be training through Saturday. Then another 60 will conduct the same drills.
For the community living around Fort Knox, that means dealing with the sounds of tank training for about a week.
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