Photo Information

A local community council member tastes a beef enchilada Meal-Ready-to-Eat during a brief gathering here, Jan. 29. Several civilians came aboard the installation to get a brief display of military life and to highlight the importance of training at Fort A.P. Hill, a base nicknamed “Where America’s military sharpens its combat edge.” (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Casey Jones) (RELEASED)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Casey Jones

Civilians taste military life

29 Jan 2009 | Lance Cpl. Casey Jones

Local council members, county officials, and Marines with 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, gathered here Jan. 29 to get a brief display of military life and to highlight the importance of training at Fort A.P. Hill.

“Seeing what goes on the installation has personally given me a better understanding of military life,” said Gregory Killough, the superintendent of Caroline County schools.

To show how service members live, the guests were given a tour of the base and had the opportunity to eat a Meal-Ready-to-Eat.

“The MRE was actually pretty good,” Killough said.  “It was much better than what I would’ve ever thought.”

All of the guests and service members in attendance agreed the base plays a crucial role in training today’s warriors.

“I think the training at A.P. Hill is very valuable,” said Gary Skinner, a retired lieutenant colonel and a board supervisor. “Being a former Marine and knowing the value of going into combat ready, this is the type of material we need to have our young troops learn. So whenever they do go into a combat situation, they can have the confidence that they will take over the enemy.

“You would never put your young son in a car before he knows how to drive, so we should never put any of our young people in combat until they are ready to go.”

The guests also discussed any concerns they had in regards to the base. The concern most voiced by the group was the noise, but that to them was still considered minor.

“Sometimes the installation will receive a noise complaint and we try to mitigate complaints by holding gatherings and meetings like this to discuss when and where we’re doing to be conducting training,” said Christopher Joyner, the installation’s public affairs officer.

Skinner said the local communities and Fort A.P. Hill have a wonderful working relationship and quickly solve any problems that may come up.

“We know how important the training is so we work together,” Skinner said. “We don’t have a lot of problems with the noise and people don’t really bring it up because we all know how important the training is. I think we can solve any problems with effective communications.”

After the meeting, the county officials thanked the service members for their hospitality and continued touring the installation’s training sites.