Joint Base Charleston could soon become home to nearly 3,600 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles as the military tries to find a place to store them.
The Charleston Post & Courier reports the Army Corps of Engineers published a draft version of its environmental assessment of the plan last week. The Army is proposing to build 12 new dehumidified metal buildings totaling 1.6 million square feet, as well as a 38-bay maintenance building and an armory for weapon storage. The facility would be located at Joint Base Charleston’s Naval Weapons Station in Goose Creek.
In 2011, the Army Materiel Command ordered approximately 3,585 MRAP vehicles to be moved from the Red River Army Depot at Texarkana, Arkansas to Goose Creek. The assessment said the existing buildings at Joint Base Charleston were either already in use or unsuitable for long-term storage. The Army says it needs the facility to maintain and store MRAP vehicles being returned from theater for Army Pre-Positioned Stocks.
Of those vehicles, approximately 514 vehicles must be kept ready for deployment within 96 hours. All of the vehicles on site will be required to undergo maintenance at least once every four years.
The environmental assessment concluded that the new facilities would have no significant impact on the 95-acre wooded site next to the base in Goose Creek. The public can comment through December 21.
The Lowcountry already has a history with the MRAPs, which were first deployed in Iraq during the mid-2000s. They were a response to roadside bombs that were lethally destructive of the Humvees the Army had been using. MRAPs were designed to disperse the blast so that its crew inside would not be killed or seriously injured by shrapnel should it hit a mine. Force Protection manufactured thousands of Cougar MRAPs at its facility in the Ladson community. The company was eventually purchased by General Dynamics, which finally halted production at the Ladson plant in June as troops returned from Iraq.