YUMA, Ariz. - As we continue military week on News 11 we look at the impact that the Yuma Proving Ground had on one local veteran during the Vietnam war.
“YPG’S impact on the Vietnam war was tremendous,” said Vietnam veteran, Walt Schumacher.
The Vietnam war lasted nearly 20 years from 1955 to 1975.
“And between the small armed weapons, the artillery and the armor, which all played a huge effect on the soldiers and some of the civilians over there," he said. "It was a tremendous time to have something reliable for us to use."
During the Vietnam war, YPG tested many different weapons to help aid soldiers in combat. They were testing the M-16 and M-14 rifles.
At the time YPG was also testing tanks but they weren't being used a lot during the Vietnam war because of the terrain. There was so much rain in the Vietnam country that tanks would sink into the wet ground.
“When I was in Vietnam I trusted United States to have tested the M-16 and after I used that for several weeks I was associated with the M-60 machine gun and once again I had to trust that that machine gun would work," he said.
After serving eight years in the military, Schumacher applied to work at the Yuma Proving Ground.
“I had just left Germany and was working at the National Security Agency in Maryland and I picked up the phone and I was hired that day over the telephone to come to the Yuma Proving Ground in March of 1977," he said.
Schumacher worked on many things at YPG including building buildings, computers and was heavily involved in the counter-terrorism efforts in the 2000's.
“During my 35 year career at the Yuma Proving Ground we’ve had thousands of people rotate in and out many having more years than I have and we are always proud to have worked there and to provide the American servicemen with the weapons they need to defend America.” he said.
Tomorrow on military week we take a look at the modern Yuma Proving Ground and how things changed after 9/11.
We are also having a military week contest for military families. Enter to win a family four pass to the Animals in Action tour at the San Diego Zoo. Click here for more information!