Tanks responsible for mysterious booms heard around Kentuckiana


by Brooke Hasch


Posted on March 19, 2014 at 9:04 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 20 at 12:00 AM

FORT KNOX, Ky. (WHAS11) -- It's the boom heard across Kentuckiana, courtesy of a group of marines at Fort Knox.

Each time they train, it ignites hundreds of calls to 911 dispatch centers as well as our own newsroom. Wednesday, we were given the opportunity to see the machines that create the boom.

"For us, it's tanks, weapons training, stuff that's going to help us prepare for any kind of combat situation," Gunnery Sgt. Matthew Dordal, with the 4th Tank Battalion at Fort Knox said.

Dordal is one of more than 100 marines that make up the reserve unit. Wednesday, 60 marines loaded into tanks for a day-long exercise, about 35 minutes away from the Wilson Gate on post.

"They're not slow. The fastest I've ever been able to get one up is 45 mph," Dordal said.

Since its return home from a deployment to Afghanistan in 2012, the detachment has focused on combat training supported by 8 tanks, weighing 70 tons each.

"We should be getting some more here in the coming year and basically get a little bigger," Dordal said.

Each tank can carry four on board.

"A good tank crew, every seven seconds should be able to shoot a main gun round," Dordal said. "It'll knock the breath out of you."

In a week of training, the crews will send hundred of main gun rounds into the air.

"It's definitely not cheap, but necessary for us to be able to be ready at all times and go overseas to do what we're supposed to do," Dordal said.

Whether a shot in broad daylight or in darkness, it's that sound that's heard from as far away as Indiana. But we found the weather plays a big factor in whether you hear it or not.

"On a clear day, you wouldn’t hear it at all. But on an overcast day like today it would be quite evident," Stuart Holder, the range operations manager at Fort Knox said.

The marines like to train, especially in the evening hours.

"It's been said, we own the night. The only way to make sure you own the night is to train at night," Holder said.

"It's definitely fun. I've been doing this for 19 years and I love every minute of it," Dordal said.

The training will take place throughout the next week and a half.