By Rick Emert, Fort Carson MountaineerMay 15, 2009
FORT CARSON, Colo.-Normally imposing and lethal, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle, M1A2 Abrams tank and AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter were among the biggest draws for children and adults at the Fort Carson Open House May 9.
Fort Carson opened up to the public for the event, and community members from Colorado Springs and some future Soldiers from Denver braved chilly temperatures and the wind to attend.
Several weapons systems were on display at Butts Army Airfield for the event, and Soldiers were on hand to explain their capabilities.
"This is a good opportunity for civilians to come on post and see what we actually do," said Sgt. Lesley Denny, 60th Ordnance Company, 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 43rd Sustainment Brigade. "They've been asking about the capabilities of the Palletized Load System. We let some of the kids go inside and look at it up close."
Fort Carson Fire Department crews demonstrated how they react to emergency situations, and military police working dogs and their handlers showed how the dogs can sniff out explosives and subdue criminals.
World Class Athlete Program Soldiers demonstrated several sports, including fencing and boxing.
Family Readiness Groups sold food and refreshments at the event, and the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation had several informational booths set up.
The Denver Recruiting Battalion set up a climbing wall and skills simulator, and the U.S. Air Force Academy combination band, Blue Steel, performed in the afternoon. The Kory Brunson Band from Denver also performed at the open house.
"This is amazing," said Todd Zurcher from Colorado Springs, who was visiting Fort Carson for the first time. "I'm glad they opened it up to the public. I'm really looking forward to seeing the Apache. You hear about it all the time in the news and see it in movies. I'm excited to see one up close."
Zurcher said the presentations from the Soldiers running the displays were informative.
"They (Soldiers) have been very friendly and polite. Everything they say starts with 'sir' or 'ma'am,'" he said.
Jared Majors was a future Soldier from Denver who enlisted in the Delayed Entry Program. He brought his wife, Brandy, and daughter, Renee, to the event.
"I'm looking forward to seeing the Army housing," said Brandy of the bus tours of the post, another popular attraction at the event. "I don't know exactly what to expect as an Army wife, but this will help me with that. I'm excited about it."
In the opening ceremony, Maj. Gen. Mark A. Graham, commanding general of Division West (First Army) and Fort Carson thanked members of the community for attending the event.
"We're glad to have you at the Mountain Post today. We're your Army. We thank you for being here," he said. "It's been a long time since Fort Carson had an open house."
Graham invited the community members to speak to the Soldiers about the weapons they use in defending the nation.
"We have some super displays out here to show you what American Soldiers do for a living, and that is defend the freedoms that we so much enjoy," Graham said. "As you go around today and see these great American Soldiers, I ask you to thank them for what they do. We're proud of what they do. There's no Army in the world better than this Army, and that's because of the great young men and women who join our Army.
"We're proud to be here. We're proud to say we are your Army."