McCain training includes simulators, live fire 4/18/2014

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 18, 2014

McCain training includes simulators, live fire

By John Howell

Grenada’s Camp McCain has developed into one of the Army’s major training facilities, encompassing 13,000 acres and providing site for over 70,000 troop days per year, base operations supervisor Lt. Col. Sanford Bennett said at a recent meeting of the Batesville Rotary Club.

Bennett and Command Sgt. Ben Williams were invited as speakers by Finch-Henry Job Corps Center business/community liaison Roger Givens, who lives in Grenada.

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Williams has a military career that spans 34 years and includes service in Bosnia and two tours in Iraq, he said. A law enforcement career has paralleled, starting with the Grenada County Sheriff’s Dept. and leading to the Mississippi Highway Patrol before bringing him to his present position as Grenada’s Chief of Police.

Bennett said that he and Williams had been classmates in Grenada High School’s Class of 1980 whose lives took them on separate paths until their reunion with assignments to Camp McCain.

Weapons training at Camp McCain is conducted on both interactive indoor virtual combat systems and live-fire outdoor ranges, Bennett said. The facility is classified as a Major Training Center, Light (MTCL), the base supervisor said, capable of hosting live-fire training up through the 7.62 mm ammunition used in the M240 machine gun and explosions of 2.5 pounds of C-4 explosive, the base supervisor added.

Camp McCain employs about 140 full-time workers at state and federal classifications, paying about $5 million in annual salaries. An additional $10 million is spent with local contractors on base projects.

Camp McCain was opened in 1942 as a training center for soldiers in World War II and also as a prisoner of war camp to house German and Italian prisoners of war (POW). It was part of the POW camp system that also included Camp Como.

The camp is named for Major General Henry Pinkney McCain, great uncle of Senator John McCain.