By Anthony Scott
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD - Soldiers returned fire against insurgents who were attacking their patrol as Texas legislators watched nearby.
The action was at a mock Afghan village Friday afternoon at Fort Hood and was part of the 2011 Legislative Day. State and national legislators toured the facility, some stopping to watch the live training demonstration.
"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, 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.
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. About 13 soldiers were instructed to check on a police station in the village.
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 firefight.
Capt. Christian Blevins, 411th Military Police company, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, spoke to the audience, explaining that the drill simulates the sights and sounds soldiers may encounter in Afghanistan.
"We're preparing for deployment," Blevins said. "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 range."
Contact Anthony Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcity.