Camp Mabry is hosting its annual Texas Military Forces Open House April 21 and 22. It's a high-powered display of U.S. military technology, from the World War II-era to today. But the organizers say it's more than that.
The event initially occurred in the fall, which drew less than 5,000 people yearly, until Camp Mabry officials moved the event to spring in 2006. Last year, the attendance increased to 17,000 people, said Garrison Commander Major John Davis.
"It's gotten really big and really popular in Austin and Central Texas area," Davis says.
The event will feature the American Heroes Air Show, displaying "the dynamic role of helicopters in law enforcement, fire service, search and rescue, homeland security, communications and national defense." The open house will also host a 5K race to support beneficiaries including the Texas Military Forces Historical Foundation and Honor Flight Austin, a program developed this year to take Texas veterans to see the World War II monument in Washington D.C. There will also be free WWII-era jeep tours, and free tours of the historical museum.
"It is a great way to showcase our living history and conduct World War II battle reenactment," Davis said. "That's a really big draw for the public."
Davis adds that the open house allows attendees to see military life up-close – touring Camp Mabry and meeting with soldiers and employees of the Texas military forces.