During World War II, the War Department acquired use of 40,587 acres of land on the eastern side of the Ocala National Forest in Marion County approximately 20 miles east of Ocala. While the site became known as the Lake Bryant Bombing and Gunnery Range, Lake Bryant is not actually within the boundaries of the area the military used.
Personnel from several nearby bases, including Pinecastle Army Air Field, Orlando Army Air Base and Brooksville Army Air Field, used the range for demonstrations, aerial bombing, ground gunnery practice, rocket missions and fire-fighting training.
After World War II, the Army no longer needed the site, and in 1947 the land was returned to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Navy currently leases over 5,700 acres for an active training range known as Pinecastle Bombing Range (or the Pinecastle Impact Range) which is near the center of the former Lake Bryant Bombing and Gunnery Range.
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