Tigerland brings old and new soldiers together

By By Natalie Stewart / American Press

FORT POLK — Fort Polk welcomed back Vietnam-era veterans last weekend for Return to Tigerland to remember times past and gain

an understanding of how soldiers, sailors and airmen are trained for global deployment.

Tiger Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Benny Dobbs said today’s 162nd Infantry Tiger Brigade is named in honor of the 1960s-1970s

Tiger Land, which trained infantrymen for deployment to Vietnam.

The 162nd, activated in 2009 at the post, trains soldiers, sailors, airmen and Army civilians for deployment to Afghanistan

and other countries.

Events included displays of vehicles, demonstrations of training provided to soldiers, and displays of memorabilia for veterans

to see the ties between the past and today’s soldiers.

Visitors were also able to see historical displays and foreign-language training soldiers receive.

Dobbs said the “largest majority” of veterans deployed to Vietnam were trained at Fort Polk.

“We primarily started Return to

Tigerland to honor our Vietnam-era veterans who trained here,” he said.

“We thought it was

important to pay homage to all veterans, but especially the

Vietnam War veterans who actually trained at Fort Polk prior to

going overseas. That was the biggest reason for doing this.”

Dobbs said that when soldiers were

trained in the ’60s and ’70s, Tiger Land replicated villages to provide

soldiers with “realistic

training.”

“This year’s event has grown in attendance from last year,” he said. “This is something that we plan to continue doing every

year.”

Return to Tigerland also welcomes civilians onto the post to see the importance of Fort Polk and the training given to soldiers.

Online: www.jrtc-polk.army.mil/Transition_team/162_in_bde.html.