JRTC Maneuvers in the Land of Atropia - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

JRTC Maneuvers in the Land of Atropia

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FORT POLK, La. (KALB News Channel 5) - The Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk is holding an elaborate training exercise and the fictional country of Atropia is the host.

There's trouble in the country of Atropia and the United States Military has been called in to help.

"We're here in Atropia as you can see here, currently the American Consulate is right behind you, and the Atropian government has called for assistance from the American government hence they sent the 3rd brigade, the 82nd, as a stop gap to keep the Arionan forces from coming over the border." Said Major Gabriel Ramirez.

While this may seem like the streets of a foreign town, the fictional village of Dara Lam is the military equivalent of a movie set. With volunteers like Tommy Wakefield playing the role of public worker "Ibish Atabala".

"We've seen these people here trying to help the people of Atropia get things for us, we're unable to provide a whole lot for them, they were wanting some lumber today but the man who owns the gas station has left took the keys and we have no means of getting gasoline to do any traveling throughout the area." Said Wakefield. 

The Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk offers soldiers from all branches of the military the chance to simulate not just conventional combat operations but all types of scenarios. From evacuating displaced citizens, to civil unrest caused by a gas shortage.

"You'll also see criminal elements, insurgent type elements, there's more things that they will have to face which again is in line with what we think they will see in the future." Said Major Ramirez. 

From the street signs to the landing strips, this area of Fort Polk is a simulation of the conditions soldiers may face if sent overseas.

"I'm retired military and I feel pride in what I'm doing, because I know what it was like being a soldier and the more prepared you are, the better you are." Said Lloyd Elleston.

5,900 soldiers, mostly from the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg participated in the rotation which started August 6th and will continue until the end of the month.

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