Life at McGregor Range

Life is somewhat spartan and harsh out here.  As I said before, they are trying to duplicate what life is like on a FOB in Iraq, and they do a pretty decent job of it.  The New Mexico desert is very arid and hot during the day, although in winter it gets very cold at nights, believe me!  I kind of like it, though. 

The food is decent, and they give you a good selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, in addition to hearty American army-style fare.  The dining hours are a bit limited, so you eat when the doors are open or not at all.  Breakfast, for instance, is 6AM to 7:30AM every day, and you better not be late.  In my civilian life I can eat whenever I want, but not here!

The base could house thousands of deploying troops, all in large barracks like ours.  Right now there are quite a few soldiers, most of whom are national guard and reservists.  They are doing training, getting ready to deploy, just like us.  I can’t estimate how many are here now, but this place does stay busy.

A few pictures of scenes around the living areas here:



Anyway, we are basically all done with our training.  The unit, and all its members, are now “validated.”   This means we are completed with our training, and cleared to go to the combat theater.  So the days are spent doing very little now.  I mostly watch movies, and go to the internet cafe where i can get some work done on my laptop. 

The barracks are no great luxury, of course, but they do.  Here is a picture of my bed:


There is not much more to life here at McGregor.


9 Responses

  1. In 1972 stayed at McGregor Range for several months while my unit trained. Unit was 101st ABN Div. 1st Btln 3rd ADA. We were a towed Vulcan outfit – probably one of the first to become mission ready for the Middle East. Eventually when we were qualified we moved to Fort Campbell to join the rest of the 101st. Have many good memories of the time I spent out there…very isolated but still a special place. I can appreciate all you troops are dealing with and doing for our country. God Bless you all.

    • Hello “Linberg,” thought I’d try again to contact you via this thread. It was this text that confirmed you are a soldier that hasn’t faded away. Thanks for the recent email conversations. You’re one of the Best. Craw.

  2. I was there from 1978 thru 1980 and i loved it. Very lonely though. I was with HQ-RS BATTERY.

  3. Funny I recently met somebody training at McGregor. I was there 1970-72 at the RCAT troop. I lived right across from the cafeteria. I see they took out the swimming pool. Those Vulcans had a hard time hitting those planes !! At some TDY missions they actually faked some hits to make it look good !!
    I was a radio man.

  4. I was there w/ 7th SFG for 3 months in Summer ’94. Had friends that lived in El Paso – very lonly place but had a blast most weekends in El Paso.

  5. I was at McGregor Rance in 1960, manning Security at the Front gate. got hit by a Scorpion in the Guardhouse. What a Spartan place that was 50 years ago. They ran a Bus into Elpaso twice a day. No Movie, No pool, just Sand and more Sand! Greeks fire a Missle in March 1960 that firen and came right back on them. Lucky, it wasn’t laoded. food was terrible, Mess Sgt. was half wasted every day. Not a good Experience.

  6. I was stationed at McGregor range from about January, 1960 through April, 1961. Your pictures show it has not changed that much over the last fifty years. During my time there the Army was hoping to reopen the school at Fort Bliss and was “stockpiling” potential instructors out at the range. There were about 800 graduates out there (including 80 E-6’s) but only one authorized position for that MOS in Headquarters Battery.I was used as a clerk despite a 93 average through both Ajax and Hercules schools.

  7. I was there in 1983 as a young man of 19. The culture at the range was rife with pot and alcohol. We had the first ever piss test while I was there. NCO’s, MP’s, and several members of higher rank, along with many of us barrack bums, all got busted. However, the Army conveniently lost the “Chain of Custody” so we all received negative remarks on our evaluations instead of the article 15’s which came later

    From there it got worse. The smart older guys who lived off post all dried up fast to beat the system. We younger guys stuck out on the range had to deal with all the pressures to do drugs that so freely flowed. We even had a civil servant dealing pot out of the gym.
    I take full responsibility for my use of pot, and I was discharged in disgrace.

    We were abandoned and left to our own devices. No one was around after hours, and we were young, dumb, and full of restless energy. We even did little to nothing for work. I went to school for over a year total as a 22L Nike test equip. repair and they had us out painting rocks and swing-blading the missile pads. It was demoralizing, boring, and a source of extreme resentment on my part towards the Army.

    I lost over a dozen buddies to field-grade article 15’s. Our population was quickly decimated and depleted of otherwise good young men who just needed direction and something productive and challenging to do.

    I did fail the Army and as a result lost a career. But I also say that the Army failed us boys living out there. We all loved our country and wanted to serve. We needed help not punishment, productive activities not neglect. We needed to be and live honorably in an environment that fostered the military life. In 1983 the range was poorly run and moral was very low. I new way too many guys that were still E-6 after 16-17 years.

    I still manage to have fond memories.

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