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120th Inf Bde hosts UT-Austin continuing education group

Email   Print   Share By Capt. Sarah Bennett, 120th Inf. Bde., Div. West Public Affairs
February 21, 2013 | News
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Col. Timothy Bush, 120th Inf. Bde., Div. West commander, discusses the 4th Infantry Division Memorial history with the UT Forum group. The statue is made from a statue of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein that was destroyed, melted down in Iraq and reformed in honor of fallen 4th Inf. Div. Soldiers. Capt. Sarah Bennett, 120th Inf. Bde., Div. West Public Affairs
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Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 393rd Infantry Regiment, 120th Inf. Bde., demonstrate how to handle insurgents while clearing a compound. Capt. Sarah Bennett, 120th Inf. Bde., Div. West Public Affairs
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Sue Phillips (left) looks on as Joan Alexander shares a laugh with a civilian trainer at the Close Combat Tactical Trainer during a UT-Austin Osher Lifelong Learning Institute visit to Fort Hood. Capt. Sarah Bennett, 120th Inf. Bde., Div. West Public Affairs
First Army Division West’s 120th Infantry Brigade hosted 35 members from UT Forum, one of five continuing education groups in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at The University of Texas at Austin, to tell the Army story and establish a partnership with an influential group of Central Texas citizens Feb. 6.

Designed to highlight First Army and Division West unit accomplishments, Fort Hood training capabilities and Soldier support services, Forum was the first of four groups scheduled to visit Fort Hood.

Members of the UT Forum program are retired professionals and active seniors who seek to continue their lifelong education through seminars and classes at UT-Austin.

The tour’s morning portion highlighted Soldier team building training, with visits to the Warrior Skills Center and the Close Combat Tactical Training Center. UT Forum members were able to handle military weapons, climb into tank simulators and watch a squad demonstrate entering and clearing a building.

After enjoying lunch with 120th’s Soldiers at a post dining facility, the tour switched gears to focus on Soldier and Family support services. UT Forum received an overview briefing and tour of the Resiliency Campus and concluded with stops at the 3rd Cavalry Regiment Museum and the 4th Infantry Division Memorial.

“Our visit to the Great Place was an awesome experience for everyone,” said Frances Woodrick, UT OLLI member. “Every person we encountered left a lasting, positive impression.”

The visit was an opportunity for 120th to tell the Army story. UT Forum had a variety of understandings about the military way of life before the visit, ranging from veterans to those having no prior exposure. The morning welcome brief offered a current overview of the Army and highlighted the way ahead for the military in the coming years.

“One member approached me at the end of the day and thanked me for sharing the day with her. She had never interacted with the military before and came away with a positive impression about our training and the programs we have in place to care for Soldiers and Families,” said Maj. Karl Harness, 120th Inf. Bde. operations officer.

“The interest in the Fort Hood visit was so strong that the UT Forum tour was fully subscribed the first day,” said Marion Harriman, administrative assistant responsible for OLLI travel and social events. “We had a

waiting list of members eager to participate.”

The 120th’s relationship with UT OLLI began during spring 2012 when Col. Timothy Bush, the 120th Inf. Bde. commander, spoke to the groups as part of a lecture series given by military officers while he was assigned to an Army War College Fellowship at The University of Texas at Austin.

The remaining UT OLLI visits are planned for March and April.

Active seniors join UT-Austin’s OLLI with the goal of continuing intellectual growth and learning. Opportunities include seminars, lectures, and trips like the one to Fort Hood. The UT OLLI program is comprised of members from a variety of experiences and backgrounds, including physicians, librarians, grandparents, CEOs and educators. The national OLLI program started 31 years ago with the launch of the Bernard Osher Foundation aimed at meeting the needs of older learners who want to learn simply for the sake of learning. Program information may be found at
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