The Barry M. Goldwater Range is a live fire aircraft range near the US Mexican border. The range is used for live fire and bombing exercises by United States Air Force and Marine Corps pilots. AVBB Harrier’s, F16, F18 and the world famous A10 Warthog jets are all frequent visitors to the Goldwater Range.
The range is under almost constant use and runs continuous night and day training evolutions. The range also serves as home for the Gila Bend Auxiliary Air Force Field. The Air Force Auxiliary Field is responsible for training technicians, managers, biologists and archeologists.
The mission of the Barry M. Goldwater Range is quite clear, to provide an open testing and training ground for advancements in technologies and tactics of air to air and air to ground combat. The Goldwater Range covers several million acres, making it one of the largest free fire ranges in the world. As a result, pilots at the range have the ability to put into practice a wide range of tactics and techniques, no matter how intricate and complicated.
The ability to have such a large free fire area is due to the fact that the entire range is under complete control on both the ground and air. The massive size of the base makes it difficult to be commanded, controlled and secured by a single organization. Technically, command of the range falls to the United States Air Force, however the Bureau of Land Management, Department of Fish and Game and the United States Marine Corps all play a part in securing and controlling the range.
The Barry M. Goldwater Range is not only one of the largest in the world, but also one of the most technologically up to date facilities as well. The Goldwater Range is often the first stop for new technologies outside of the laboratory. This influx of technology to range has resulted in an increase in government funding for the range which is put into facilities and improvements.
Airmen and Marines stationed at the Goldwater Range enjoy some of the highest rated housing conditions in the US Military. The desolate terrain of the area is made up for with every facility and amenities that can be found in a major urban area. Professional medical and dental care, family centers, support groups and continuing education facilities can found throughout the installation.
The Goldwater Range also provides several outlets for recreation. Multiple parks and sports centers dot the installation, as do several restaurants and bars. The range also has a movie theater, recreation center, pool and gym for use by personnel.
Training evolutions at the Barry M. Goldwater Range are generally short term. Incoming airmen and marines will automatically be assigned housing. Students at the range most come unaccompanied, however instructors and permanent personnel can bring their dependents. The base housing office can facilitate housing for longer term personnel and their families.