Fort Drum
An example of a playing card used by 10th Mountain Division Soldiers to better acquaint themselves with Iraq landmarks.

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Army News Service, June 8, 2007) - Fort Drum was recognized for the cultural resources program it provides to 10th Mountain Division Soldiers in a Pentagon ceremony yesterday which netted the fort the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award for Installation Cultural Resources Management.

Fort Drum provides the 10th and other units with heritage training through educational outreach and resource-preservation-in-theater training that helps Soldiers slated for deployment demonstrate their respect for the people, land and culture of Middle Eastern countries.

The post's cultural resources staff produced some 40,000 decks of playing cards and another 50,000 Army Combat Uniform pocket cards that consist of photos and messages that help Soldiers better understand their surroundings, customs and traditions while deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. The cards also foster respect for monuments, mosques and other religious sites.

Laurie Rush, the post's cultural resources manager, said it's critical that cultural resource managers balance the responsibility of stewardship with mission support.

"We engage in projects that make training land available to Soldiers at home on the installation, and we provide Soldiers with resources that help them be successful with the local cultures wherever they are deployed in the Middle East," she said

A second approach Fort Drum uses is called on-the-ground resource avoidance training. The post built two mock Middle Eastern archaeological sites and two Middle Eastern style cemeteries for use in providing realistic training. The post also has a mock site at the Adirondack Bombing Range to help New York National Guard crews learn to recognize and avoid striking sensitive sites.

With Defense Department Legacy Program funding, Fort Drum is sharing its winning practices with the DOD by assisting in projects at other installations.

(Deborah Elliott serves with Army Environmental Command Public Affairs.)

Page last updated Fri June 8th, 2007 at 14:05