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  • Friday, November 01, 2013

    Legion Leaders Get Taste of Combat Training

    FORT DRUM — New York American Legion leaders got a taste of the 10th Mountain Division’s unique combat training at Fort Drum during their visit to Jefferson County Oct. 5.

    They took a ride in a Humvee IED simulator.

    “It simulates convoy operations facing the threat of improvised explosive devices (IEDs),” Department Commander Kenneth Governor said. “The IED explodes, rolling the truck. Soldiers extract themselves and take up defensive positions while chaos is breaking out all around them.”

    Rifle range

    At the shooting range at Fort Drum.

    He added: “All they did for us was turn us upside down, but the soldiers get the realistic training as if it were actually happening.”

    Next was a shooting range. “It was straightforward, almost like a video game, with enemy soldiers attacking your position. The computer automatically scores the shooter’s results.”

    There also was an artillery simulator with call-for-fire training. “As an artilleryman, I would have loved to have called in a mission,” Governor said, “but there was a class in progress.”

    What really impressed him was the medical battlefield, filled with “very lifelike dummies” displaying an array of wounds and injuries. “Soldiers enter the battlefield, again chaos reigns with machine gun and small arms fire going on, and some kind of explosives going off. Soldiers take up defensive positions, clear the area and then work on the wounded.”

    Governor, along with a group of Legion Family members that included Department Auxiliary President Barbara Corker and Sons of the American Legion (SAL) Detachment Commander John Chang, also got to visit the memorials to 10th Mountain Division soldiers killed in action.

    “They are located across from the Headquarters in a very dignified and solemn setting,” Governor said. “A new large memorial donated by the Fort Drum civilian workforce will be dedicated soon. You immediately recognize the significance of the monuments to families whose loved ones’ names are inscribed and who made the ultimate sacrifice in the most deployed division in the United States Army. You not only recognize the ongoing effect on immediate families, but also the brotherhood of the division and the veteran kinship. It choked me up, as it’s a vivid reminder of the cost of freedom and that we are a country currently at war.”

    Another highlight of the Fort Drum tour was getting the opportunity to dine with soldiers who came to meet the Legion Family members on their day off.

    The day culminated with dinner at William C. Dexter American Legion Post 673 in Black River, where Governor presented the Department Commander’s Award of Excellence to John B. Lyman Post 904 of Alexandria Bay for dedication to service members, veterans, families and community, and its support of American Legion Children and Youth Programs.