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    Commemorative Area offers fun look at local, Army history

    Fort McCoy History Center

    Photo By Kaleen Holliday | 88th Readiness Division Historian Ward Zischke shows off a display at the History...... read more read more



    Story by Aimee Malone 

    Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office           

    More than 1,000 people have visited Fort McCoy’s Commemorative Area so far this summer to learn about the installation’s history.

    The visitors have been varied, including current military members, veterans, and members of the public with no previous military experience. The Commemorative Area’s historic buildings serve as a good introduction to 1940s military life and expands on Fort McCoy’s history into the present day.

    “The feedback has been that we have a hidden gem of military history here,” said Kaleen Holiday, public affairs specialist with the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office. “We don’t want to stay hidden; we want everyone to come and experience this beautiful area.”

    The area has something to offer visitors of all ages. One of the items that might interest children is a pamphlet illustrated in the familiar style of Dr. Seuss. Theodore Seuss Geisel, known better under his pen name of Dr. Seuss, took a break from his career as a children’s writer and illustrator to join the Army during World War II. He helped produce posters, pamphlets, and films during the war.

    The pamphlet at Fort McCoy features a bloodthirsty mosquito named Ann (short for the genus Anopheles, many species of which can carry and transmit malaria) and teaches Soldiers how to avoid the mosquitos and infection.

    Another popular exhibit is the WWII-era dining facility. It features recipes to feed an army, WWII-era kitchen equipment, and examples of the modern MRE (meal, ready to eat).

    “One of my favorite parts of going through the dining facility with Soldiers, veterans, or retirees is listening to them discuss what their favorite, or least favorite MRE has been,” Holliday said. “It’s also fun to share the history of M&Ms with people who visit. The candy was invented in 1941 as a military ration. The hard candy shell was designed to keep the chocolate from melting so that Soldiers could enjoy from any location.”

    The Commemorative Area features five historic WWII-era buildings, artifacts ranging from Fort McCoy’s inception to modern times, an Equipment Park with more than 70 military vehicles and equipment, and Veterans Memorial Plaza. A picnic pavilion is also available on site and can be reserved for special events.

    The Commemorative Area is open noon to 4 p.m. Fridays and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays through Labor Day. Visitors can obtain a pass at the Visitor Control Center on Fridays or the Main Gate on Saturdays. Pine View Campground also offers a shuttle from the campground to the Commemorative Area for $2 per person. Stop at the campground office to reserve a spot.

    The Commemorative Area is also available for unit and group tours by appointment. Call 608-388-2407 for more information.

    (Article prepared by the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office.)



    Date Taken: 07.22.2021
    Date Posted: 07.22.2021 14:42
    Story ID: 401500
    Location: FORT MCCOY, WI, US 

    Web Views: 23
    Downloads: 0