JOHNSTON – Sunday, Camp Dodge was opened up in a whole new way for the public to see.
They offered interactive tours of the facility, getting to learn all their history and see firsthand what they do.
“I love history. I love Camp Dodge, it was done to allow the folks who support the National Guard to see what we actually do and what Camp Dodge originally started as,” said CW-3 James Russell of the Iowa Army National Guard.
Hundreds of people headed inside and onto the bus for a guided tour.
That included Allen Hentscher of Johnston, who brought his kids along for the experience.
“We hear them doing target practice and stuff from our house. We’re that close, we see the convoys coming and going, so we just thought it would be neat to see things up close and personal,” Hentscher said.
His children, Matthew and Rachel, agreed.
“You got to see some really awesome stuff, Humvees, tanks, m-raps, firing ranges, that was really cool,” Matthew said.
“I think it was actually really amazing. I really liked seeing how they trained and getting in the tank, all of that,” Rachel said.
That meant seeing everything from the core of a training center to the inside of a tank.
Russell hopes it inspires a new generation.
“Serving your nation, it’s a great thing,” said Russell. “It’s a sense of community, number one and it’s a sense of being a citizen of the United States.”
It’s a trip, Allen Hentscher believes, others should check out as well.
“The simulator thing, we decided we need one of those things in our garage. That would be a lot of fun,” Allen said.
Camp Dodge has often hosted an open house during Memorial Day weekend in the past.
They’re hoping, because of the turnout Sunday, to do this again in future years.