FORT POLK, LA — The 162nd Infantry “Tiger” Brigade hosts “Return to Tiger Land” on North Fort Polk from 9 .am. to 2 p.m. May 4. The event is geared toward veterans of Vietnam-era Tiger Land training and community leaders so they can see the type of training currently taking place to prepare Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen for global deployment.
“There will be several displays of equipment and vehicles as well as demonstrations of the training we provide to deploying Soldiers,” said Maj. Louis Stangland, the brigade intelligence officer. “We will have displays of Mine-Resistant Armored Vehicles, medical training, and show the visitors some of the simulators we use to train Soldiers in a virtual environment.”
This event is open to everyone, but it is not like FreedomFest or CajunFest, Stangland said. “There will not be kiddie rides, inflatables to jump on, bands or fireworks. We're focusing on veterans who trained at Tiger Land in the 1960s and 1970s and people who are interested in seeing the training that the 162nd provides today.”
Return to Tigerland may have a specifically targeted audience, but it is still an important event for the 162nd Inf Bde, Fort Polk and the surrounding community, according to Stangland.
“The bond that Fort Polk shares with its surrounding community is the real key to this event,” said Stangland.
“We share a very tight bond with our civilian neighbors in the surrounding communities, some of whom are (Vietnam era) Tiger Land veterans. Events like this allow our neighbors to gain a greater understanding of what we do to train today’s Soldiers, and how we are keeping our ties to the past. In fact, we will also have several displays from the Fort Polk Museum to show people the Vietnam-era Tiger Land.”
Putting this event together took weeks of planning for the brigade, with a lot of help from the installation staff, said Stangland. There were many moving parts in the planning process from coordinating access to post for visitors, to selecting the displays that visitors would see. Stangland said the event offers veterans an opportunity to remember times past and gain a better understanding of the training that current service members undergo as they prepare for deployment.
“The brigade has conducted the advisor training mission on Fort Polk since 2009. Additionally, the brigade is beginning to train advisors to support all of the combatant commands as part of the Army’s Regionally Aligned Force design,” Stangland said.
For more information on “Return to Tiger Land” please call 653-2456 or visit the brigade’s web page at www.jrtc-polk.army.mil, look for Transition team, then 162 Infantry Brigade, or look them up on Facebook under 162nd Infantry Brigade.