FORT HOOD, Texas – Texas state legislators and their staff attended the Texas State Legislative Day Jan. 20 here. Hosted by Fort Hood and the Killeen Chamber of Commerce, the event was held to familiarize attendees with Fort Hood and the Army.
Staffers and legislators were exposed to the many resources on Fort Hood that contribute toward the preparation of Soldiers for the demanding and complex requirements of combat.
This day-long event started out with a Fort Hood overview briefing, an aerial tour of the installation from a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and then watching a People First Center interactive skit about peer pressure between Soldiers and how to intervene.
“I represent Texas House District 145, and Vanessa Guillen was one of my constituents. Her family still lives in my district. So, it was really important for me to come here today because I wanted to see firsthand what Fort Hood is all about,” shared Rep. Christina Morales, Texas State House District 145. “As a person who represents that district, I’m very concerned about the safety of our servicemen and women. So, I’m happy to see that there have been improvements and I’m happy that we agree that there’s still so much more that needs to be done. And I’m optimistic that we will get there.”
Attendees were then given the opportunity to see military equipment and vehicles featuring an M1A2 Abrams tank, AH-64 Apache helicopter, MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft system and a M2A3 Bradley. Soldiers were on hand at the static displays to explain what each piece of equipment is used for, how they maintain the equipment and the significance of it in combat.
“Interacting with Soldiers, saying hi, getting to kind of see like, what their background is and then going inside of the vehicles is really cool. I’ve never been inside of a military vehicle,” said Olivia Lasater, a staff member for Rep. DeWayne Burns, Texas State House District 58. “That kind of took you off into like, not another world, but he (the Soldier) really gives you an insight of what it (would) be like.”
For most of the attendees, this was their first time on the installation, which fostered an environment filled with questions and exclamations of people’s excitement at what they were seeing.
“I’ve always enjoyed teaching people about my job. It’s always been fun. If I had to describe in one word, entertainment. It was a very entertaining time having everybody around, having everybody learn,” said Spc. Nicholas Frankovich, Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. “Just watching people, eyes wide open and be like, ‘Oh, this is awesome,’ brings a smile on my face.”
From there, the legislators and staff met with III Armored Corps and Fort Hood Commanding General Lt. Gen. Sean C. Bernabe for lunch where he discussed Fort Hood capabilities, infrastructure, the Central Texas community and the needs of Fort Hood.
Bernabe also expressed his gratitude to the state legislators, their staff and community leaders for their part in ensuring, and preserving, Fort Hood remains the Great Place.
“Thanks for spending time with us today,” Bernabe said. “It’s really a treat for us. Our Soldiers love to talk about what they do. They love to demonstrate their expertise as members of the profession of arms and as members of the III Armored Corps. So, thanks for allowing them that chance. It’s great to see you and tell you what we do. We are proud to be a part of this community and a part of the state of Texas.”
Following lunch, legislators and staff participated in various training simulators, including medical simulations and close-combat tactical trainers. These simulators provided an opportunity to gain hands-on experience for attendees, as well as drive home what Soldiers do on a daily basis.
Broll of the Texas Legislative Day events
Lieutenant General Sean C. Bernabe, Commanding General of the III Armored Corps and Fort Hood, Texas, speaks during Texas Legislative Day
Interview with the Fort Hood Garrison Commander Col. Chad R. Foster
Interview with Rep. Christina Morales, Texas State House District 145