FORT LEAVENWORTH, KS (WAFF) - A lot of my time today was spent in classrooms, and my mind is still spinning from all the military acronyms that were being thrown around. Don't worry, I wrote them all down and I'm going to remember them all if it kills me!
The day started off with an overview of the Department of Defense, who's in charge of what and that sort of thing. We moved onto military branches and focused mainly on the Army, since that's what type of post Ft. Leavenworth is. We learned more about command level and rank insignias.
One of the people who spoke with us today was Kirby Brown. He is currently the Deputy to the Commanding General of the Combined Arms Center at Ft. Leavenworth. I talked with him for a little bit and found out that he used to work as a Senior Military Analyst at Aegis Technologies in Huntsville. Brown told me that to his knowledge, Redstone Arsenal is the DOD's #1 spending post. I found that quite fascinating.
We talked a lot about sequestration and how hard it hit Ft. Leavenworth. Col. Steve Leonard said that this post saw the most cuts come from training. He said it was hard to make any kind of cuts because sequestration really tied their hands as to what programs you could cut and where you could shift money from. Col. Leonard believes that because training was effected, we will see the effects of sequestration for years to come.
I've got to admit, my favorite part of the day was lunch. Not because of the food, but because of where we got to eat. The dining facility was set up in the old United States Disciplinary Barracks. It was decommissioned around 5 years ago, but the windows still had the bars on them and everything!
After lunch, we took a walk through the cemetery on post. They started burying people in it in 1858, and began exhuming and moving people from other cemeteries on base to that one in 1868. Around 22,000 people are buried there, dating back from the War of 1812 to the current wars. There are a lot of "Unknown Soldier" graves. For me, that was a very sobering moment that really made me take a step back.
We wrapped the day up by talking to a panel of military members and their families. For me, it was heartbreaking to see them tear up when they talked about leaving their families for multiple deployments and missing out on their kids' lives. All of the soldiers and their significant others said they wouldn't have it any other way, though.
It is very cool to be on this post and see how the intricate layers of this community work. It really is its own little city. Tomorrow, we will spend the morning at a suicide awareness meeting, and then we will head to Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri. I'm tweeting out pictures and updates throughout the day, so be sure to follow me on Twitter @lmorrison48.