Yuma Proving Ground celebrated its 75th anniversary this weekend with a free event for the public. KAWC’s Maya Springhawk Robnett was there…
In 75 years, this is the first time YPG has given this much access to the public.
The Gala included live music, food, a slide for kids, and even a zip-line. It also allowed public access to the vehicles and equipment tested there: Children climbed on top of military tanks. People viewed the controls inside armored vehicles. And YPG personnel answered questions.
Many of the hundreds of attendees were veterans—and for some of them, like William Postler, a winter visitor from Connecticut and paratrooper during the Korean War, the equipment brought back memories…
“I was watching them on the parachutes,” Postler said. “Now they have what they call a T-11, it’s 35 feet in diameter. The T-10 we had was round 20 feet in diameter. So there’s a big difference. It slows you down more. Definitely, I’m happy to see the change. And I’m glad that people are coming out here to see where their taxpayer money goes to.”
According to Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Matthews, the Yuma Test Center Commander at YPG, the Gala is a thank-you.
“This is Yuma’s community so we want to give back. And this is our way of giving back after 75 years,” Matthews explained.
Commander Matthews says while this was the first time in 75 years that Yuma Proving Ground opened its doors this wide, they don’t intend it to be the last.