By Anthony Scott
Fort Hood Herald
Thirteen soldiers who defended a position in a mock Afghan village may have looked like a show to a group crowd of visitors who gathered for a demonstration Friday. However, to the soldiers on the field, it was no show. It was business as usual.
Soldiers were training in realistic scenarios during Fort Hood Legislative Day, offering several national and state legislators a peak into what they do to prepare for deployment.
"It helps get our teams working together building up to squad development so that teams, or squads, work together, ultimately culminating to the company being able to perform its mission down rang," said Capt. Christian Blevins, 411th Military Police company, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade.
Blevins explained to the small audience of media and legislators that the drill simulates the sights and sounds soldiers may encounter in Afghanistan. In this scenario soldiers returned fire against insurgents who were attacking their patrol as Texas legislators watched nearby.
Blevins said these exercises simulate the sights and sounds the soldiers could encounter in Afghanistan.
"We've been performing this exercise for approximately a week now," he said. "We started our preparation to go to Afghanistan three weeks ago."
Blevins said the soldiers will likely deploy in late spring or early summer. The demonstration lasted about five minutes and was set up with about 30 actors, many of whom are from Iraq. Each played his own part to make the village scene realistic.
During the exercise, mock insurgents began firing blanks at the soldiers who were then forced to return fire. Several explosions shook the audience throughout the fire fight.
"I think the fact that we're coming to Fort Hood to see how massive it is really is an eye-awakening thing for some of my fellow members," said state Rep. Ralph Sheffield, R-Temple. "This one facility is shared by Rep. Sid Miller (R-Stephenville), myself and Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock. That's how large it is. ... It's probably one of the biggest economic roles in the state of Texas."
Also attending the demonstration with Sheffield was state Sen. Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, and Aycock, R-Killeen. The group was joined on site by about two dozen visitors who were flown in via helicopter.
Afterward, Aycock said that it was easier to work with other legislators when they've seen Fort Hood.
"It's just a lot easier to say this is why it's important to Fort Hood and this is why Fort Hood's important to Texas," he said.
Contact Anthony Scott at email@example.com or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcity.