Soldiers with Fort Polk’s 162nd Infantry Tiger Brigrade perform a medical demonstration during last weekend’s ''Return to Tigerland.'' (Natalie Stewart / American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, May 13, 2013 10:06 AM
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.