In an effort to showcase U.S. Army modernization and readiness to key business leaders, the National Training Center and Fort Irwin held its semiannual “Distinguished Visitor (DV) Immersion Tour” Oct. 29 and 30.
The nearly 80 business leaders, influencers, and medical professionals made their way to the National Training Center riding on Black Hawk helicopters from Hollywood Burbank Airport. Upon landing at the historic Painted Rocks, the guests were given a tour of Fort Irwin Garrison and the services the installation provides to the nearly 10,000 personnel it houses.
Fort Irwin Garrison Commander Col. Jason Clarke, had a chance to interact and speak to the visitors regarding the Army’s People First Initiative. “We say it all the time, our people are the Army’s greatest asset. By investing in our Soldiers and investing in our communities we are not only improving our people’s quality of life, but are simultaneously building a stronger and more lethal force.”
Following their tour of the garrison, the guests made their way to the National Urban Warfare Center, attended a brief from Brig. Gen. Curtis Taylor Commanding General of the NTC, and were informed on the NTC’s strategic mission of training the force.
“Warfare has gotten so fast, so lethal, and devastating, that you can no longer afford to learn in the first battle,” said Taylor. “Given how lethal warfare is becoming, we had to build a facility to learn those lessons first.”
Taylor highlighted the significant investments the NTC has taken to train Soldiers how to ethically prosecute large scale combat operations. “This goes beyond the way two tanks can shoot each other,” he said. “From providing role players, chemical weapon storage facilities, to air defense and electronic warfare, we can replicate anything you can see on the modern battlefield.”
Following the brief, the visitors made their way to the City of Razish, observed a live combat demonstration put on by the 11th Armored Calvary Regiment, ate meals ready-to-eat (MREs), participated in a building clearing simulation, fired several weapons, and learned about military vehicles and what the future of warfare might entail.
For many of the visitors, the tour provided them with their first exposure to the U.S. Army.
Tom Kelly, chief financial officer of Monster Energy, called the tour enlightening.
He said that most of his exposure about the Army came from close friends and colleagues.
“I am very impressed with the respect that all the Soldiers have with one another, and that starts from the top. I see a lot of respect and comradery that the Soldiers have between themselves and seeing that in action was the most impressive thing for me,” said Kelly.
“Every time I turn a corner I’m experiencing something new. Right now I’m holding a machine gun I’ve never held, I’m in a flak jacket with a helmet on, but that was just the last 15 minutes. From riding on a Black Hawk, to shooting a .50 caliber machine gun, I’m seeing the investment the NTC has put in, equipment-wise and personnel-wise to defend America.”
Distinguished visitors also included celebrity entrepreneur and branding expert Clint Arthur, as well as Hollywood producer Alison Savitch.
This was not the first time Savitch has visited Fort Irwin, having produced the music video for “Flight or Fight” at the NTC in 2013. Savitch was impressed how the training center has adapted and modernized since her last visit.
At the conclusion of the tour, the guests thanked the Soldiers of the NTC, promising to share their Army experience with others.
“Getting to know the people and the processes has been amazing,” said Ryan Dolton, vice president of Commercial Sales at Mechanix Wear. “The training here really humanizes the operation which is interesting, I’ve always thought about the unit as a whole and not the parts of it, but this tour has allowed me to meet some of the extraordinary people behind the whole.”