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Training Above and Beyond: Force Center

Recently we had the opportunity to attend the first open house event for one of the largest privately-owned tactical training facilities in the Southeast United States, FORCE Center. The FORCE (Forward Operational Readiness Center) is comprised of the former 1200-acre Hendry Correctional complex located in Immokalee Florida, that at one time housed just over 1000 inmates. In June 2011 it was purchased by a group of investors and converted over to a state-of-the-art tactical training facility.

Force Center

Created in early 2019 when a new team of investors and defense industry professionals came together to put this place on the map, they re-invested into the infrastructure what this place deserves. The open house event held in late August was just that:  show off all of the improvements, infrastructure advancements, and to meet the team. When we arrived, we were awaited by an all-black Eurocopter Twinstar AS355 owned and operated by Airborne Tactical Training. We jumped in the co-pilot seat and off we went to tour the facility from the air.

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Lifting off a brand new Heli-Pad, we departed from the headquarters building and flew east along the edge of the property. Our first sighting was the “Village:” a self-contained area housing up to 64 people in barracks-style facilities, including a full gym, classrooms, and chow hall. Even climate controlled K9 Kennels accommodated working dogs for on-property training scenarios.

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Further east we could see the main prison complex called the “City”, and its expansive array of buildings surrounded by 30ft barbed wire fencing and guard towers. We flew low and right down through the middle of the complex as our pilot began pointing out the various buildings that ranged from schools, theaters, a chapel, and the 3 large, fully-intact correctional areas. We then went into a circular pattern where we could see a dedicated breaching area, some single family homes, and a newly installed heli-center, with 5 new helipads and on-site fueling. The pilot mentioned they can handle up to 4 Blackhawks on this new pad.

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Force Center city

Departing the “City” we followed and eastbound heading where we could clearly see a large on-site airfield, named FA02, that spans just over 3700ft long. It is also a certified jump zone so military or other units alike can utilize for training scenarios. On the west end of the runway, 6 newly remodeled condos certainly rivaled the red-roof in. These accomodations have 3 private rooms each and can comfortably house 18 people, furnishing them with high-speed wifi, leather sofas, full kitchens and AC’s that can certainly keep guests frosty in the Southern Florida summers.

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3700 ft FAA Certified airstrip and jump zone.

We then headed out toward the other side of the property that contained a 1000+ yard precision rifle range with a 3-story connex tower equipped with fast rope training attachments and various shooting platforms designed for various forms of firearms training. On our approach back to the HQ we could also see a very large 360 range (one of the largest in the state of Florida), a bunch of shooting bays for the on-site gun club called Tradecraft Range, and a pair of shoot houses. When we landed, we were able to meet the chief pilot from Elitejets.com, who had a helicopter on display at the HQ, and they are now offering flights from most regional airports directly to the facility!

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Palm Beach Sheriff Department flew out to check out the new facility along with 60 other officers from various departments around Florida.


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Paul Barth from Airborne Tactical Training with attendees and staff.

After the site tour, and during lunch, we spoke one-on-one with some of the staff members who have been associated with the property for 5+ years.  Many tier 1 units, including some Seal Teams, had used this property for pre-deployment training and continue to use it year after year. We also found out that FORCE Center is available for firearms instructors to rent, or just want to host a VIP event, etc.

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Our first impressions of FORCE Center left us in amazement and wanting to come back to host, or be a student in some type of training at this facility.  It offers so much it’s hard to describe, and can cater to just about anything from special VIP events, to advanced training scenarios. The property looks like it had been very well maintained. They mentioned about still having a long list of improvements yet coming to the facility by the end of this year just to top it off.

For more information on Force Center, you may visit: www.forcecenterusa.com

Video Link to Helicopter and K9 Demo at open house: https://youtu.be/aHuSwl8llGY


Here's our feature on RECOILtv:

 


Special thanks to:

Kane Tierney

Paul Barth (www.airbornetacticaltraining.com)

Elitejets.com
Basecamp Creative Group (@basecamplife)

The entire team at FORCE Center for hosting.


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One response to “Training Above and Beyond: Force Center”

  1. M.B. says:

    I spent two years as a correctional officer there, and have now been a firearms instructor for more than a decade. Interesting to see the changes made at my old workplace.

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