Yakima Training Center, nine miles north of Yakima, Wash., borders the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountain Range and the banks of the Columbia River. The 327,000-acre training center is high desert, and is covered with sagebrush, volcanic formations, dry gulches and large rock outcroppings. YTC has vast flat valleys, separated by intervening ridges, which are suited to large-scale mechanized or motorized forces. Much of the steeper terrain resembles areas of Afghanistan. Twenty-five ranges, including the state-of-the-art Multi-Purpose Range Complex and Shoot House, are available for individual or collective training.
Prior to 1941, the area consisted of ranches and a few scattered silica mines. Just before World War II, the Army’s need for a large training and maneuver area became apparent, and the Army negotiated with landowners to lease 160,000 acres for the Yakima Anti-Aircraft Artillery Range. Military organizations in the Pacific Northwest used the center for range firing and small-unit tests. The first camp was constructed in 1942 on Umptanum Ridge, 13 miles northeast of the present cantonment area.
In 1947, approximately 60,000 acres were cleared of unexploded ammunition and returned to the original owners. During 1949 and 1950, the state of Washington used the center for summer training of its National Guard units, and regular Army troops were permanently assigned to the center. At the start of the Korean War, the Army decided to expand Yakima Firing Center. In 1951, the installation was enlarged to 261,451 acres and construction of the current cantonment area began.
In 1986, a further expansion was initiated and in 1992, the Army acquired additional acreage to enlarge YTC to 327,000 acres. The Multi-Purpose Range Complex opened in 1989, and the Shoot House and Urban Assault Course opened in 2005.
YTC has an AAFES shoppette and a gymnasium available to Soldiers and their Families. The Firing Point community club, with a cafeteria, opened in February 2009.
Located in the center of the state, Yakima, a city of 80,000 people, has many historical and recreational opportunities such as golf, museums and auto racing. The area also offers more than 90 local wineries. Nearby, the Cascades offer skiing, outdoor recreation, hunting, fishing and hiking. For more information call the Recreation Services Office at (509) 577-3337.
• Washington Army National Guard (WA ARNG) • Washington Air National Guard (WA ANG)