Wrens, GA to Sumter, SC., Air Force Bomb Range
Sumter Travel Blog› entry 20 of 169 › view all entries
Arrived at the Elks Lodge in Sumter, SC with no problem and parked down a narrow alley behind the Lodge. Once I got set up, I noticed a bush was brushed on the side of my rig and that a host of ants had invaded me. The little bastards were in everywhere and everything. Spray and ant traps finally got things undercontrol after several days but that was not the end of ants. I had imported ants from several states and am a traveling ant hill. bet they were surprised when they looked out and didn't recognize anything. (Hey Mable, this is not Georgia, where are we?) The Elks Lodge was set on the banks of a pond and had people fishing every evening. Nice spot and they served dinner every evening.
The guys at the Lodge told me about a bombing range that was close and open to the public. I got directions and drove out to see what it was all about. It was located in the middle of the forest and was a huge cleared field I would guess more than a mile square. On the road in, I came to a traffic light which puzzled me because there was not an intersection at the light. Found out it was set up to stop traffic when planes were on the range. In the center of the field were a couple of buildings and a tall control tower. Looked like a fire tower, nothing fancy.
While waiting for some action a guy came out and asked me if I was interested in going up in the tower to watch the action. WOW, you bet I said yes. In the tower were a couple of guys, one the traffic controller and the other the scorer who kept track of each planes results on bomb or gun runs.
Things started with 4, F-16's doing about 6 bomb runs. The bombs were small and computer releases. Upon impact, they would release enough smoke for the scorer to see where it landed in the large target down range. It was impressive to see how accurate they were. After the F-16's finished, a flight of A-10's (Warthogs) came in and repeated the bombing exercise. The control tower was at about the same altitude as the planes and they released the bombs about 100 yards from the tower. talk about close! The best part came next when the A-10's came around the other side of the tower and started to fire the gatling gun at hanging bullseyes down range. You can't imagine what it was like to be about 100 yards from the bursts of the 30 mm guns. You see the smoke before you hear the BURRRRRRRP of the gun.
Elks Lodges - 8 Escapee parks - 5 Public RV Parks - 5
National Parks - 6 Battleships - 1 Forts - 3
April 2002, $1755
May, 2002, $2056