Fort Riley Open House Planned For May 6
By Christie Vanover
When Fort Riley throws a party, it’s more than streamers, cake and funny hats. They roll out the heavy artillery.
The public is invited to Marshall Army Air Field May 6 for Fort Riley’s
Open House. This free event was planned to
introduce the public to the job the U.S. Army and Fort Riley do for the nation, community and its citizens.
Many large-scale activities are planned from tank battles to historic tours.
"We have designed the day’s activities to be both informative and entertaining,"
said Maj. Art DeGroat, deputy G-3 and
Open House project officer. "We will showcase a vast amount of military technologies and capabilities resident at Fort Riley,
as well as the support systems that make Fort Riley a healthy, vibrant place to live, work and play."
To start the day, members of the United States Special Operations Command
Parachute Team will jump onto the airfield as
military aircraft and helicopters fly over.
More than 1,500 soldiers in battle gear will march behind their unit
colors followed by military vehicles from the WWII-era to
today. The parade will also feature an Army Band and the Commanding General’s Mounted Color Guard will bring up the
Military demonstrations and hands-on exhibits for all ages will fill
the airfield following the parade. "Our exhibits will be
organized to provide a theme-park-like atmosphere for our guests who are free to tour and recreate in accordance with their
own interests and pace," DeGroat said.
After returning from Bosnia this month, soldiers from 1st Battalion,
16th Infantry will begin preparing to host an interactive
night vision exhibit inside a dark hanger.
With goggles on, visitors will get a new perspective of what the military
is capable of seeing at night. From behind a bunker
and camouflage nets, the once dark hanger will carry a cast of green as visitors watch military action invisible to the naked
A static vehicle display will feature military vehicles like Old Thunder
a vintage cannon, WWII Willy’s Jeep, M151
Vietnam-era Jeep, M1A1 Abrams tanks and many others.
"There will also be an aviation display that features up to four rotary
wing aircraft such as the UH-1 Huey and the UH-60
Blackhawk," said 1st Lt. Richard Downs, air defense artillery liaison officer, 1st Brigade.
Kids can "be all they can be" by getting their faces painted in full
camouflage and challenge a mini-obstacle course sponsored
by 3rd Brigade. Certificates of completion will be awarded to all who finish.
A weapons familiarization station will allow visitors to handle military
machineguns, and even test their skills using lasers and
blank ammunition. The Army’s laser engagement system instantaneously shoots a beam through an M-16 rifle designating a
hit or miss.
Fort Riley’s four-legged soldiers will also show their dedication to
duty when the Commanding General’s Mounted Color
Guard demonstrates the Cavalry and the K9 team shows narcotic and explosive detection and attack work.
If that’s too much excitement, many relaxing tours of Fort Riley’s historic
district will be conducted around Main Post
followed by a tour of nationally significant sites, such as the U.S. Cavalry Museum and the Custer House.
One hanger will be converted into an exposition hall featuring booths
from Fort Riley units and agencies. Soldiers from 1st
Brigade plan to staff a booth to answer questions about their recent deployments to Bosnia and Kosovo. Local Chambers of
Commerce are also invited to participate.
The long day won’t leave anyone hungry. A Fest Tent filled with a variety
of foods and beverages will be open all day while a
battle of the bands competition rages inside.
Then, the real action begins! Blasts from a force-on-force tank battle will rattle the bleachers, ending the day with a real bang.
"One tank platoon and one Bradley platoon, augmented with Air Defense
Artillery, Engineers and Field Artillery will conduct
a deliberate attack with a breach against a defending enemy, replicated by captured vehicles," said Downs.
Laser engagement systems will highlight the awesome power of the Army’s combined-arms team, said DeGroat.
"We are truly going all out to make this a great day for our guests,
soldiers and military and civilian family members. Don’t
miss it," said DeGroat.