Kids Fill Fort McCoy's Open House

By: Dana Brueck
By: Dana Brueck

Fort McCoy is billed as a total force training facility ... seeing more than 100, 000 thousand troops every year.
But today ... it seems kids could've outnumbered them.
"They drive past Fort McCoy all of the time," Col. Danny Nobles says.
"You see signs for Fort McCoy, but seldom do people have opportunity to come on installation and see what we do here."
Until now -- the 96-year-old installation's annual Armed Forces Day open house ...
Pam Mundt took three of her children.
She says, "we like to see all of the military stuff. Boys also like to read about that ... Their older brother just got back from Iraq .. keep up with all of that kind of stuff."
Here they actually get up on giant tanks and trucks ...
"You can just feel them ... imagine them driving along shooting and stuff," one youngster says.
Krissy Smith says, "we didn't know that tanks were so huge. Sometimes it gets very scary so you gotta be careful."
But to truly fit in at Fort McCoy takes some camouflage.
"You always put it on the same way foliage grows, up and down," a soldier told Josh Tucker of Janesville.
The installation's commander says today is designed to connect Americans and those who keep the nation secure.
"In today's environment ... terrorism .. for people to know importance of what we're trying to do for them, to have that support it builds morale of soldiers here and hopefully builds confidence of American people," Col. Nobles says.
And a mission to Fort McCoy seems incomplete without these ... dog tags.
Krissy Smith says, "it's a two hour wait. There's a whole bunch of people here and everybody's trying to get dog tags."
A young boy says, "they used them for identification ... soldiers are hurt in action."
Meantime Josh Tucker plans to use what he's learned not for identification ... but for hide and seek.
"If he stands next to tree, mom will not be able to find him ... "
"Good," Tucker says, "then I can run."
Fort McCoy's commander says the installation now has more than 500 troops training for their mission in Iraq.

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