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Thousands of Fort Carson soldiers, vehicles heading to southern Colorado training exercise

April 5, 2017 Updated: April 6, 2017 at 7:15 am
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FILE - A Stryker armored vehicle leads a group of vehicles heading south on I-25 near Pikes Peak International Raceway Wednesday, May 27, 2015. (Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette)

Thousands of soldiers and vehicles will be on the move in coming weeks as they head to a southeast Colorado training site for a two-week exercise.

About 5,000 Fort Carson soldiers, 750 soldiers from installations in other states and about 1,200 military vehicles and pieces of equipment, including more than 325 Stryker armored vehicles, will convoy from Fort Carson to the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site for an exercise called Operation Raider Focus. About 30 rotary-wing aircraft will fly in to participate.

The exercise will prepare soldiers "for any possible mission should the unit be called to support any contingency around the globe," according to a Fort Carson news release. The convoy will travel south from April 11 to 22 and return to Fort Carson in early May.

Each convoy, traveling at 40 mph on two routes, will consist of no more than 30 vehicles, and 30-minute spacing is planned between each.

Convoys will travel on Interstate 25, U.S. Highway 160, U.S. Highway 350, Colorado Highway 115, U.S. Highway 50, and Colorado Highway 71, and drivers may experience delays because of the slow speed of the convoys and the increase in traffic.

The Fort Carson soldiers are from units including the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade and the 4th Sustainment Brigade. The other soldiers are from Fort Sill in Oklahoma, Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Hood in Texas.

"Increased dust and noise levels from this exercise can be expected during this time period, due to training and vehicle traffic throughout the training area," according to the release. "The training includes day and night blank-fire exercises incorporating aircraft and military members from the Army and Air Force."

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Contact Ellie Mulder: 636-0198

Twitter: @lemarie

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