Infantry unit hosts community open house

By Staff Sgt. Benjamin Crane, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Andrew Barry watches as Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry are timed putting together the M240 machine gun during an open house hosted by the unit in Artemus, Ky., Oct. 13. The unit welcomed the local communities to the Harold L. Disney Training Center as a sign of the strong bonds of support between the “Mountain Warriors” and local citizens. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Crane)

ARTEMUS, Ky. – The “Mountain Warriors” of the 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry opened their gates to the public to show off their training while continuing their efforts to build strong bonds between the battalion and the local community at the Harold L. Disney Training Site Oct. 13.

The open house coincided with the unit’s Mountain Warrior Assessment Program (MWAP). The MWAP brings together the future of the battalion from all ranks to compete against each other in order to see where they stand amongst their peers. The MWAP awards the top finalists of the competition with various Army schools such as Airborne or Ranger School.

Family members, government contractors and community members got to watch demonstrations of infantry tactics and displays describing the history and mission of the infantry battalion. Demonstrations included current weapons used by the infantry, mountain warfare and medical tasks the unit needs to be proficient on to remain qualified.

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A popular event of the day was the disassembling and reassembling the M4 rifle, M240 machine gun and the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon. Soldiers were timed on taking apart and putting back together their weapon systems.

“This is really fun to get to watch,” said Andrew Barry, who was in town from Indiana with his mother.

His mother Vicky heard about the event and knew she had to bring her son since they were in the area visiting family.

“He’s always looked up to Soldiers and wants to become one himself,” she said of her son. “He loves this stuff.”

Assistant Adjutant General, Army Brig. Gen. Scott A. Campbell, State Command Chief Warrant Officer Dwight Harlan and State Command Sgt. Maj. David Munden flew in by UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter to view the event and also give the visitors an opportunity to see more of the equipment the Army uses.

While they were there, they were able to talk to the 1/149th leadership and Soldiers and remind them of the importance of their mission.

In the end, leaders and visitors both believed having the community come together and Soldiers getting necessary training really worked hand-in-hand.

“The roots of the Kentucky Army National Guard’s Infantry Battalion are firmly planted in Eastern Kentucky with leaders at all levels from squad through battalion command. This open house is just a small way to further improve our valued connection to the local community,” said Lt. Col. Eddie Simpson, Mountain Warriors’ commander.