BOURNE, Mass. — The National Guard says it needs a machine gun range on Cape Cod to better train soldiers, but on Monday, a group protesting the idea held a rally to try to stop the project.
The Massachusetts Army National Guard wants to expand a 40-acre gun range area by clearing 170 plus acres to build an area for soldiers to train with several kinds of machine guns. The project has voices on both sides speaking out.
“We can’t send soldiers in harm’s way without that kind of skill,” said Patrick Flynn, a retired member of the US Coast Guard.
Nathan Herschler, a Sandwich resident, told us “it’s just a level of fear and concern that we don’t need to introduce to our communities and children.”
The voices against the project rallied on the Sandwich side of the joint base. Herschler, one of the speakers at the rally put together by the local Sierra Club, talked about his concern with weapons like this being used his first-grade daughter’s school. Herschler says, “
"The sound of gunfire from the base that is less than a mile away from here that would be for sure that is going to happen with the building of this machine gun range,” said Herschler
Patrick Flynn supports the idea, telling us how key his automatics weapons training was back when he served in the Coast Guard.
“We can’t ask soldiers and Marines to go to war and train on a video game. We have to give them experience on the actual weapons,” said Flynn.
Keith Lewison, a member of the Cape Cod Group of the Sierra Club, says, “I understand we want to the best training and facilities for our military personnel. My personal view is they have access to that training. Sometimes they have to drive a little farther to get to that training.”
Right now the training in question is done in Vermont and New York and the National Guard says that cuts into training time because they usually on train on the weekends and can’t afford that much time to travel.
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