Jul 2, 2008

McGuire Airforce Base Day 3 (part 1)

card design by

Honest Engine! This is the last plug for the Fredericksburg Show. This is the postcard for the show. Christopher Thompson of CThroo Designs was gracious enough to design the postcard for me. The opening is Saturday, July 5th from 5 to 7:30pm at 813 Sophia Street, Fredericksburg, VA. Check out the show, look at the work, write me hate mail...whatever.

Now back to the McGuire Airforce Base adventure. This is the final day that we (the airforce art crew) would be on base before taking our flights and parting ways. We were told that it was going to be one of the slower days as it was a Saturday and slow it was. Our venture took us to Lakehurst, New Jersey. This was the site of a training exercise where a good portion of this base was turned into a Middle East Simulation. Soldiers were given a more realistic view to better equip them for when they're deployed.

There were three groups among this mock country...the middle east soldiers, the American soldiers and the middle east citizens. Officers who had expertise with middle eastern culture and traditions were either citizens or middle east soldiers. It was the job of the "citizens" to trip up the incoming soldiers any way they could. We were told that in one exercise the troops left their convoy unattended. Well when the soldiers returned to their vehicle the tires were slashed and the inside was filled with trash. Tough way to learn a lesson but the lesson was learned.

Throughout this mock town were about 48 hidden cameras. These cameras were used to observe how the incoming soldiers did as far as interacting with the towns people. It was all very interesting to see the little mistakes that could cause either a soldier his/her life or create a public relations nightmare. It was also the job of the soldiers acting as middle east towns people to publish a newsletter with any news that would come from interactions with the soldiers (usually their words were twisted to make the U.S. soldiers look bad).

We also got to sit in on a meeting between the Middle East soldiers and the U.S. soldiers. As with everything this meeting was being recorded. Contractors were viewing and grading the meeting to spot anything that the U.S. soldiers might do that could be conceived as disrespectful. Shortly after this we got to see an MRE (Meal Ready to Eat). The camp cook ripped one open and made his lunch while explaining how to prepare one.
This would mark the end of the official day but our trip was not yet over.

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