By Stephanie Speicher
Visitors of the Lebanon Area Fair will be in for a special demonstration on July 27’s Military Appreciation Day.
The Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s new Ambassador Demonstration Team will be doing a live-action military battle drill at 6 p.m. at the Track to increase awareness about the National Guard.
The demonstration is free to attend and will feature a squad of 15 soldiers assaulting through an objective. Throughout the 10-minute drill, audiences will get to see soldiers and equipment — such as a Stryker vehicle and a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected all-terrain vehicle — in action.
Additionally, blank ammunition, smoke and pyrotechnics will be used to simulate explosions and add to the realism of the live-action drill.
“They’ll be able to see individual movement techniques, soldiers moving in real time across the space,” said Capt. Shawn Garghill, the officer in charge of the demonstration team.
Garghill, a Lebanon County native, will be explaining the drill to the audience as it is happening.
“That way, those who are not familiar with military tactics or not familiar with the military will actually get the ‘so what’ behind the actions that are taking place,” Garghill said.
At the end of the drill, the military vehicles will be pulled around for the audience to see and Garghill will do “soldier spotlights,” specifically highlighting any local soldiers on the team.
The goal of the Ambassador Demonstration Team is to generate interest in joining the Army National Guard, but also to show the dual mission of the Guard — both the duty of an Army unit and the duty of community support.
“We’re very community oriented,” Garghill said. “Half of our responsibility is community support and domestic operations.”
In addition to the demonstration on Military Appreciation Day, the team will be back again on July 29 for a second 6 p.m. drill at the Track prior to the Demolition Derby.
“We hope to see a big audience,” Garghill said.