The Reno-Sparks Indian Colony recently helped open the first of its kind Air National Guard indoor shooting facility with a ceremony that featured participation by Colony Chairman Arlan D. Melendez, and two elders, Ralph Burns and Beatrice Thayer, who have ties to the Colony.
“Throughout Indian country, our people are very proud to serve and support all aspects of military service,” Melendez said in a press release prior to the ceremony.
It’s been known that American Indians have the highest rates of enlistment per capita into the armed services of any ethnicity in the United States; a fact that Dr. Tommy Sowers, assistant U.S. secretary of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, reiterated.
The training facility at the Colony is a Modular Containerized Small Arms Training Set (MCSATS), is the first of its kind in the National Guard. “The facility is climate-controlled and provides scenario-based shooting situations for personnel to train and qualify annually, or in advance of deployment along with other weapons training,” the press release states.
The facility is located at the 152nd Airlift Wing, 1776 National Guard Way in Reno, Nevada.
Burns, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, taught Paiute language for the RSIC for more than a decade, while continuing to be a guest speaker offered the opening prayer. Burns is the winner of the 2013 National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Award. He served in the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division during the Vietnam Era.
Thayer, Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, is a veteran of World War II, offered the closing prayer for the ceremony. Thayer was a SSG, E-6 for the U.S. Army/Air Force from 1945-1959 and is a member of the National Guard, retired.
Melendez served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam Era.
The 6,000 square-foot, 12-lane range is state-of-the-art and will give the majority of Nevada’s Air National Guardsmen a premium place to train. The facility features bullet traps to recover spent munitions, computer generated shooting scenarios, and can accommodate standard rifle and pistol rounds up to 7.62 mm. The facility exceeds OSHA regulations for safety, noise reduction and air quality.