FORT HOOD, Texas - Members of the Central Texas community and senior leaders here met to discuss challenges facing the Fort Hood community, as well as celebrate the post’s contributions to the Central Texas community at large, May 25.
Lt. Gen. Pat White, commanding general of III Corps and Fort Hood, greeted the visitors at the III Corps Headquarters building before beginning the orientation. Of those in attendance, nearly a dozen had never been on the installation before.
“We’ve got a great history here on Fort Hood,” White said. “I hope everyone comes away from today with an appreciation for what makes this installation and this organization so special.”
White went on to showcase the corps’ mascot, the Phantom Warrior. He discussed its significance to the history of the corps, which stretches back to World War I. White took special emphasis to highlight the nature of the armored corps’ unique mission in the modern battlespace.
Visiting community members were then invited to have a discussion with members of the corps staff inside Fort Hood and III Corps Headquarters.
“All of the commanders in the Killeen-Fort Hood area are going to have that people first attitude. I am really looking forward to it so we can really strengthen our communities between Fort Hood and Killeen,” Charles Kimble, chief of police for Killeen, said.
After attending a briefing that highlighted major developments on Fort Hood, including its massive impact on the local economy, visitors were treated to a static display of the many unique military vehicles in Fort Hood’s arsenal. 1st Cavalry Division, 3rd Cavalry Regiment and 36th Engineer Brigade collaborated to help make the display possible.
Among the vehicles on display were two M1 Abrams main battle tanks with mounted weapons systems, two infantry carrier vehicle Strykers, a Bradley Fighting Vehicle and a Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected light tactical vehicle. 11th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade also made a showing with a large assembly of communications pieces.
Lunch followed and was held in the Theodore Roosevelt Warrior Restaurant, where community members were able to eat side by side with Fort Hood Soldiers. The facility is one of more than a half dozen warrior restaurants that work around the clock to feed the nearly 36,000 Soldiers who call Fort Hood home.
After lunch, visitors were treated to a tour of some of the installation’s most dynamic and immersive training sites.
First, community members were shown the Fort Hood Medical Simulation Training Center, where they were introduced to an Army-standard improved first aid kit and then briefed on the Army’s training methods for first responders.
After their orientation to the MSTC, visitors were then shown the daunting obstacle course and simulation village that is used for hands-on training. The course is designed to test medics in a variety of unique situations, up to and including the complete loss of all reliable sensory input.
After being given an overview of the challenging environment that Army medical personnel train in, visitors were invited to see how Soldiers train to fight at the Fort Hood Training Support Center. Following a demonstration, visitors were invited to take part in Battle Drill 6, enter and clear a room.
“I’m going through one more time!” Dianne Campbell, a currently serving Copperas Cove councilwoman said after completing the course.
Visitors to the TSC were also invited to simulate a mounted patrol, including a simulated demonstration of the operation of a mounted M2A1 .50 caliber machine gun.
“This is all really impressive. I’m so glad the Soldiers have tools like this to train with,” Campbell said.
The tour ended with a visit to the new National Mounted Warfare Museum, which is currently under construction. The immense project will cover nearly seventeen acres near Fort Hood’s main gate. It will feature the artifacts currently held in the 1st Cav. Div. and 3rd Cav. Regt. museums, as well as those held by other Fort Hood affiliated units. The project is slated to be completed in early 2022.
The event was intended to foster a positive relationship with the surrounding community, and to help clarify the nature of III Corps’ mission on Fort Hood, Col Myles Caggins III, director of Public Affairs for III Corps, said.
“As we’ve launched our People First initiative, part of that is building trust,” Caggins said. “Building trust within our formations, but also building trust with the surrounding communities.”