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Gov. Nathan Deal today joined with local officials and community representatives at the groundbreaking for the American International Marksmanship (AIM) Academy in Blakely in Early County. AIM Academy will be a military and para-military training center, representing a $6 million initial investment that will create 100 immediate jobs, and is expected to bring up to 200 jobs to the area within two years.
“In a state known for its 12 active military installations and commitment to service personnel and their families, Georgia is proud to welcome the American International Marksmanship Academy. This facility will be a great benefit to our armed services and other active duty personnel,” Deal said. “This project comes at an important time for Early County, and I join with this community and AIM Academy in celebrating such great news for southwest Georgia.”
AIM Academy will cater to police, SWAT, National Guard, reserve and active duty organizations. The academy will have 25-1500 meter weapons ranges; training lanes for activities including breaching doors, walls and buildings; a shoot house; an unmanned vehicle training and testing area and will eventually house a race track where defensive and anti-terrorism driving techniques can be taught.
“I am excited about being in Early County, and am confident that AIM will be a premier, nationally renowned training site for military, law enforcement and civilians. Our facilities will provide superlative training by a world-class pool of instructors,” said Marc Masoner, AIM founder, president and CEO. “We want to give our customers real world experience so they will know what to expect and how to handle situations that require defense training. We will also offer professional and corporate membership packages, event opportunities and worldwide shooting competitions.”
Early County is a Georgia Certified Work Ready Community focused on the economic viability of its industries and the development of its skilled workforce. AIM Academy is expected to be a significant boost to the local economy as organizations come to the area to train at the facility, and as civilians travel to Early County to participate in shooting events and competitions.
“AIM Academy is a great fit with our plans to bring new businesses into Early County. We could very well become a south anchor community for Fort Benning as it moves and expands its borders,” said Lisa Collins, director of economic development for Early County 2055. “Hopefully, Fort Benning will choose to move south, along the U.S. Highway 27 corridor, as land is plentiful and will fit into their overall plans for future development.”
Chuck Hunsaker, Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD) senior manager for defense issues, managed this project on behalf of the state, along with GDEcD senior project manager Rhonda Geiger.
About American International Marksmanship Academy
American International Marksmanship Academy (AIM) is a comprehensive, practical private shooting facility that will provide training and education to military, law enforcement agencies and civilians, as well as offer professional and corporate membership packages, event opportunities and world-wide shooting competitions.
About Early County 2055
Early County 2055 is a nonprofit organization created to sustain the EC 2055 50-year vision, fund the long-term effort to protect the area’s historic and cultural foundation and build and maintain a prosperous economic future. For further information go to www.earlycounty2055.com.