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The history of YPG began with the opening of the Yuma Test Branch near the present site of the proving ground on the Colorado River in 1943.  This location was considered the most desirable spot in the country for the testing of portable combat bridges because of the abundance of swift flowing water that engineers could control as they wished. 

The same year, the Army established Camp Laguna a few miles to the west to train troops in mechanized warfare.  Upward of 15,000 troops were stationed at Camp Laguna at any one time for periods generally lasting six months. The purpose of the challenging training was to prepare soldiers for a severe life of combat in the deserts of North Africa or one of World War II’s other combat fronts.  The camp was abandoned and demolished in 1944, but the test mission continued.

Today, more direct labor hours are devoted to testing activities at Yuma Proving Ground than any other test organization in the Army.  The areas of cargo and personnel parachute technologies and the testing of unmanned aircraft, in particular, continue to grow each year.

One of the largest military installations in the world, bigger than the state of Rhode Island,  the role of U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground in maintaining the quality and readiness of America’s combat forces is enormous.  A tremendous variety of military test programs are conducted at the 1300 square mile proving ground, consisting of nearly every weapon system and munition in the ground combat arsenal. 

A part of the Army Test and Evaluation Command, Yuma Proving Ground’s mission is to conduct tests on medium and long-range artillery, aircraft armament and sensor systems, cargo and personnel airdrop systems, unmanned aircraft, armored vehicles and automotive equipment, technologies for defeating roadside bombs, and much more.  Three test centers fall under the proving ground umbrella that feature extreme natural environments – the Cold Regions Test Center, Alaska, the Tropic Regions Test Center that tests in Panama, Suriname and other tropic areas, and Yuma Test Center.

The proving ground’s workforce is a thoroughly integrated team of military personnel, government civilians and contractors numbering about 2300 people.  Yuma’s largest single employer of civilians and the county’s primary high tech workplace, the proving ground sends over $450 million dollars into the economy each year.

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