As we approach Memorial Day, I’m proud to know that Fort Chaffee, Arkansas — just down the road — is a very important training facility to our nation’s soldiers. Next month, National Guardsmen will converge on Fort Chaffee for large-scale realistic training scenarios and local civilians will play an important part in keeping these citizen soldiers alive during a tour in Afghanistan.
Arkansas Democrat Gazette — Northwest Arkansas Edition
FORT CHAFFEE: Civilians heed call for mock war
by Mark Minton
The National Guard is recruiting 200 civilian “extras” to animate mock Afghan villages under construction at Fort Chaffee. Dressed as native villagers, the role-players will act out scenarios amid moviestyle pyrotechnics to train U. S. soldiers to interact with real Afghan civilians in the war zone.
“Any mistakes to be made, make them here — where it’s not life or death,” Lt. Col. John Posey said Wednesday as he steered his truck past walled encampments and villages going up for next month’s training.
Interesting, isn’t it? Fort Chaffee is a place invaluable to the defense of our nation — and the readiness of combat troops. In part, because this place possesses attributes of another — much more dangerous — place.
The citizens of the Fort Smith region have always taken seriously its responsibility to our military and our law enforcement personnel. In this case, our job is to reduce the number of families next year who take Memorial Day personally.
May the Lord be with those in harm’s way, and the families waiting anxiously here at home.