The Beehive State joined an exclusive club Monday, as Camp Williams cut the ribbon on its new Special Operations Forces Live-Fire Shoot House.
"This facility is a live-fire shoot house simulating a building that we would need to go in and clear, room by room," said Lt. Col. Shane Day, garrison commander of Camp Williams. "This one is unique in that we can shoot live ammunition."
Currently, there are only four such facilities in the country, and the one at Camp Williams is the first in Utah.
The facility, which started being built in 2018, will primarily support U.S. Army Special Operations Forces in initial and advanced training related to close-quarter battle and urban combat scenarios.
It will also support Utah Army National Guard soldiers, as well as law enforcement agencies in training on advanced urban combat skills including advanced marksmanship techniques, close-quarter battle and urban movement techniques.
The opportunity afforded by the shoot house is a unique one, Day said.
"Clearing a building or urban combat is one of the most dangerous things that we can do and that we do," Day said. "Training as realistic as we can helps us get as ready as we can be. Any time you add live ammunition to a training event, it elevates the energy quite a bit."
As far as what makes this facility viable for shooting live ammunition where other facilities may not be equipped to handle it? It's all in how the $11.4 million building was constructed.
The facility's steel exterior is lined on the inside with about 2 inches of ballistic rubber along the walls.
"We have some targets also in there that capture the bullets as they travel through. So we put a target on the side of that target box, so as they go in and shoot the round, it won't go anywhere, it'll go into the target and then it captures it down below," Day said.
The facility is also multistory and includes the ability for units and organizations to perform advanced marksmanship training within the training areas immediately surrounding the building.
As well as serving as an important training ground for U.S. Army Special Operations Forces, Utah Army National Guard Soldiers, and local law enforcement agencies, the facility will also have an impact on Camp Williams.
"There are probably units all over the country that'll want to come here, so it will expand the influence of Camp Williams outside of the state, even," Day said. "We're just excited to get it open and to get people in here training."