Guard invites public to see rockets fired at Fort Riley

TOPEKA, Kan. _ A Kansas National Guard unit is inviting the public to come watch a live fire exercise at Fort Riley next month.

The 2nd Battalion, 130th Field Artillery will fire its multiple launch rocket system during an exercise on Sept. 13. The rocket system is capable of firing rockets to support ground units, return fire when attacked or attack targets for larger units, such as a division.

The system can fire 12 rockets in 60 seconds, aimed at up to six different targets. It has a range of about 20 miles to more than 180 miles. Spokeswoman Sharon Watson said the exercise is part of the battalion's regular training schedule and that there are no pending deployment orders. Currently, there are about 500 Kansas National Guard soldiers deployed.

In 2003, the unit deployed to Iraq for 12 months. It traces its history to the 1st Kansas Artillery, formed in 1868. Soldiers from the battalion have served in every war since the Civil War, including awards for service in campaigns in Muese-Argonne, Alsace, Lorraine, the Aleutian Islands and the European Theater.

The battalion has armories in Hiawatha, Sabetha, Marysville, Concordia, Horton, Atchison, Salina and Abilene.

The exercise is scheduled to begin around 12:30 p.m. Shuttle buses will move the public to a viewing area.


PRINCIPAL DEPLOYING: A northeast Kansas school principal is about to tackle a task that almost certainly will be far more trying than overseeing hundreds of kids everyday of the week.

Lansing Elementary School Principal Tim Newton reported Wednesday for mobilization training and leaves in November for 12 months of duty in Iraq. Newton is a command sergeant major with the 287th Sustainment Brigade of the Kansas Army National Guard.

Newton told The Leavenworth Times it didn't start "sinking in" that he was leaving until Monday when he visited classrooms in the brand-new school, saying goodbye. He said, however, that he has no regrets about going to Iraq.

His unit will be handling logistical support for coalition forces in Iraq.

Newton is encouraging teachers and students to send him school supplies in Iraq to give to children there.


FITZWATER SPEAKING: Former White House press secretary Marlin Fitzwater will return to his hometown of Abilene next month to help celebrate the 100th year of the Abilene Public Library, a former Carnegie Library.

In addition to library events on Sept. 9, Fitzwater will be giving a presentation at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in the visitors center at 7:30 p.m.

Fitzwater was born a farm near Abilene and graduated from Kansas State University. He worked for several newspapers before moving to Washington and a career in public service. He was press secretary for President Reagan and President George H.W. Bush. He also was a writer and consultant for the television show "The West Wing" for three seasons.


BAND DAY: Members of the 1st Infantry Division Band will take to the field next weekend.

The football field, that is.

The band will participate in Kansas State University's Band Day during the Wildcats' football game against Montana State. The event coincides with Fort Riley Day at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, which will honor soldiers and their families.

More than 20 Kansas high school bands will participate in the event, which includes a parade earlier Saturday through downtown Manhattan.

During the pre-game ceremonies, the bands will play "Taps" while the names of the 154 Fort Riley soldiers, sailors and airmen who have died at war will appear on the stadium video board.


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