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Halloween Open House

Division West, USO host Halloween Open House, Soldier Appreciation Extravaganza

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A runner leaps to evade the “ghouls” trying to grab his flags during the 5K competitive run held as part of the Division West Halloween Open House at North Fort Hood, Texas, Oct. 27. Division West hosted the event to show appreciation to the division’s Soldiers and their Families and to the citizens of the unit’s partner community of Gatesville, Texas. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Tony Foster, Division West Public Affairs)

By Staff Sgt. Tony Foster, Division West Public Affairs

 

NORTH FORT HOOD, Texas – While some people prepare for Halloween night to serve up scary costumes and candy, others also use the eerie holiday theme to show their gratitude to Soldiers and Families.

First Army Division West did just that Saturday by hosting its first Halloween Open House, which was immediately followed by a USO-sponsored Soldier Appreciation Extravaganza.

“Today was an opportunity for First Army Division West to come together with not only Soldiers, but Families and community members and celebrate the fall,” said Maj. Gen. Perry Wiggins, Division West commanding general. “We are here to celebrate the camaraderie that we share.”

The event brought together Division West’s headquarters, its three local brigades and their battalions, and citizens from the unit’s partner city of Gatesville.

“We just wanted to show our appreciation to the Families and citizens of Gatesville for all that they do,” Wiggins said.

Soldiers with Division West’s 120th Infantry Brigade use their ghoulish costumes and antics to entertain competitors in the Family Fun Run held as part of the Division West Halloween Open House at North Fort Hood, Texas, Oct. 27. Almost a thousand Soldiers, including some who are currently being trained by Division West at Fort Hood before their units deploy to overseas missions, plus Family members and Gatesville residents gathered together for the day’s festivities. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Tony Foster, Division West Public Affairs)

Almost a thousand Soldiers, including some who are currently being trained by Division West at Fort Hood before their units deploy to overseas missions, plus Family members and Gatesville residents gathered together for the day’s festivities.

“Today was a great day,” said Maj. Adam Randall, Division West support operations officer and principal Halloween Open House organizer. “We started off the day with a competition 5K obstacle run with Soldiers dressed as ghouls, chasing the competitors from across the division.”

The 5K competition run encompassed most of the main post area at North Fort Hood and included seven obstacles that participants had to navigate. Runners started the race with two flags and tried to keep them from the flag-snatching “ghosts” and “ghouls” at each obstacle.

“It was fun and interesting to see all the runners and kids there early in the morning having fun, “ said Sgt. 1st Class Derwin Russell, 120th Infantry Brigade training noncommissioned officer and an obstacle ghoul. “We plan to do this bigger and better next year.”

Soldiers and Family members take off from the starting line of the Family Fun Run during the Division West Halloween Open House at North Fort Hood, Texas, Oct. 27. The event brought together Division West’s headquarters, its three local brigades and their battalions, and citizens from the unit’s partner city of Gatesville. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Tony Foster, Division West Public Affairs)

Following the obstacle run, a one-mile Family Fun Run required Families to start and finish as a group. Toward the end of the run, costumed Soldiers gave candy and glow sticks to the children.

“We had a lot of fun,” said Densmore Bartly, 10, who was in the Family fun run with his brother, John Handy, 5, and their mother, Division West’s Chief Warrant Officer 4 Cheryl Bartly. “We are happy that our mommy is in the Army and we can do things like this.”

Open House attendees could also go into the North Fort Hood chapel to watch the Division West command video or take a look at static displays depicting future deployment and construction on North Fort Hood. Two Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles, complete with Halloween decorations and candy, sat nearby for anyone who wanted to climb in and explore.

After the competitive events of the day, attendees came together for an awards presentation which was immediately followed by the USO-sponsored Soldier Appreciation Extravaganza, including a free concert donated by the Clayton Adams Band and trunk-or-treat, featuring vehicles decorated by Soldiers with plenty of candy for the children.

Before the culmination of the day’s activities, there was one more event that everyone was waiting for: steaks and hotdogs provided by the All-American Beef Battalion.

“We have over a thousand steaks to feed everyone here,” said Kay Ann Deavers, a member of the All-American Beef Battalion. “We feel it is not enough for all that the Soldiers do for us, but we are here to show our appreciation with this food for them to enjoy.”

“Zombie rocker” Jay Adams, Division West public affairs officer, anticipates tearing into steaks provided by the All-American Beef Battalion for attendees of the USO-sponsored Soldier Appreciation Extravaganza immediately following the Division West Halloween Open House at North Fort Hood, Texas, Oct. 27. Other events of the day included a 5K competitive run, a Family Fun Run, and trunk-or-treat for children. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Tony Foster, Division West Public Affairs)

While people ate and enjoyed the day’s activities, some offered their own gratitude for all they were given that day.

“We brought three of our four children here, and we all had an excellent time,” said Deirdre McCrimmon, wife of Division West’s Sgt. 1st Class Trumell McCrimmon. “I truly love and appreciate Division West for everything they have done today.”