Mojave Gunnery Range “C” encompasses approximately 20,908 acres of desert in Kern County, California. The site is located east of Mojave, California, and overlaps the southwest portion of California City.
In August 1944, the Department of the Navy acquired land near Mojave to conduct aerial bombing, strafing and air-to-ground rocket range training. The 11th Naval District developed a training area consisting of six stationary ground targets and one mobile ground target that were used by pilots stationed out of Marine Corps Air Station, Mojave. After World War II, Marine Corps Air Station, Mojave became Naval Air Station, Mojave, and the Mojave Gunnery Range “C” training area was used by Naval Ordnance Test Station, Inyokern; Naval Air Station, Mojave; and the U.S. Army to test and evaluate pilotless aircraft.
Naval Air Station, Mojave closed in January 1947 and the training area remained idle until 1951 when Marines from El Toro used the air field as an auxiliary field. The air field was renamed Marine Corps Auxiliary Air Station, Mojave and was referred to as an Advanced Gunnery Range. In December 1958, the leases for the training area were terminated and in January 1959 Marine Corps Auxiliary Air Station, Mojave officially closed.
Today, most of the former Mojave Gunnery Range “C” training area consists of undeveloped land owned by private entities with small portions owned by Kern County and the Bureau of Land Management. Off-highway vehicle recreation, small arms shooting practice and seasonal sheep grazing are conducted on the undeveloped land. Illegal dumping also occurs on portions of the former training area. The northeastern corner of the former Mojave Gunnery Range “C” boundary extends into California City, which is developed for residential and commercial use. The southwestern portion of the range is owned by the Hyundai-Kia North American Proving Grounds, which operates an automobile test track on the property.
The Corps of Engineers began investigating the former gunnery range in 1999 through the Formerly Used Defense Sites, or FUDS, Program. An Administrative Record containing project documents and reports for Mojave Gunnery Range “C” is available at the Kern County Library, California City Branch, and at the Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District office.
The Mojave Gunnery Range “C” FUDS property has been divided into the following eight projects: the Bombing Target; Strafing Target #71; Bombing Target “F”; Rocket Range 101; Bombing Range #73; APA Areas 5 & 6; APA Area C; and APA Areas E, E1, and E2. This website provides information about each project.