UT Forum visits Fort Hood

Col. Timothy Bush, 120th Infantry Brigade, Division West, commander, discusses the 4th Infantry Division Memorial history with the UT Forum group. The statue is made from the former Saddam Hussein statue that was destroyed, melted down in Iraq and reformed in honor of fallen division soldiers.

U.S. Army/Capt. Sarah Bennett

First Army Division West’s 120th Infantry Brigade hosted 35 members from UT Forum, one of five continuing education groups in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Texas at Austin, to tell the Army story and establish a partnership with an influential group of Central Texas residents Feb. 6.

Designed to highlight First Army and Division West unit accomplishments, Fort Hood training capabilities and soldier support services, UT Forum was the first of four groups scheduled to visit Fort Hood.

Members of the UT Forum program are retired professionals and active seniors who seek to continue their lifelong education through seminars and classes at UT-Austin.

The tour’s morning portion highlighted soldier team building training, with visits to the Warrior Skills Center and the Close Combat Tactical Training Center. UT Forum members we able to handle military weapons, climb into tank simulators, and watch a squad demonstrate entering and clearing a building.

After enjoying lunch with 120th’s soldiers at a post dining facility, the tour switched gears to focus on soldier and family support services. UT Forum received an overview briefing and tour of the Resiliency Campus and concluded with stops at the 3rd Cavalry Regiment Museum and the 4th Infantry Division Memorial.

“Our visit to ‘The Great Place’ was an awesome experience for everyone,” said Frances Woodrick, institute member. “Every person we encountered left a lasting, positive impression.”

The visit was an opportunity for 120th to tell the Army story.

“One member approached me at the end of the day and thanked me for sharing the day with her. She had never interacted with the military before and came away with a very positive impression about our training and the programs we have in place to care for soldiers and families,” said Maj. Karl Harness, brigade operations officer.

“The interest in the Fort Hood visit was so strong that the UT Forum tour was fully subscribed the first day,” said Marion Harriman, administrative assistant responsible for institue’s travel and social events. “We had a waiting list of members eager to participate.”

The 120th’s relationship with the institute began during spring 2012 when Col. Timothy Bush, brigade commander, spoke to the groups as part of a lecture series given by military officers while he was assigned to an Army War College Fellowship at the University of Texas.

The remaining institute visits are planned for March and April. Learn more about the institute at http://www.utolli.org.

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