August 31, 2011 4:48 PM
CHUCK WULLENJOHN - SPECIAL TO YUMA SUN
Engaged in a whirlwind tour of his home state, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) stopped by Yuma Proving Ground Wednesday afternoon to see firsthand the many activities that are making 2011 the busiest year in the proving ground's nearly 70-year history.
A massive display of military equipment tested at the proving ground awaited him as his plane touched down at YPG's Laguna Army Airfield. Technical experts stood beside aircraft systems like the current version of the Apache helicopter, the cargo-carrying K-Max helicopter that can be operated either by an on-board pilot or as an unmanned aircraft, and ground systems like the M777 155mm howitzer, several armored vehicles, and technologies used to defeat the threat of improvised explosive devices.
McCain asked numerous questions about each item but particularly enjoyed talking with soldiers and civilians making up the proving ground workforce. He pleasantly shook hands and bantered with various workers, who he profusely thanked for performing serious work that both protects Americans from injury or death and helps our forces achieve battlefield success.
Following his examination of the various displays, he received detailed briefings from YPG Commander Col. Reed Young, who provided an overview of proving ground activities, and MCAS Yuma Commander Col. Robert Kuckuk, who described base activities and preparations for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Chuck Wullenjohn is the public affairs officer for the Yuma Proving Ground.