BOALSBURG - Visitors will be transported to 1968 Vietnam as they experience patrol demonstrations and camp tours on Saturday and Sunday, during the Fifth Annual VIETNAM Revisited Combat Bivouac Living History Weekend held on the grounds of the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg, Centre County.
First Cavalry re-enactors from the Greater Pennsylvania Military Preservation Association out of Altoona, museum staff, and volunteers camp out on the grounds providing a glimpse into the recent past.
The event is held intentionally in July as the intense heat and humidity were "trademark elements for every person who served in Vietnam," says museum educator Joe Horvath. In addition to the weather, the lush under growth and thick tree canopy surrounding Spring Creek beside the museum further represents an element of the Central Highland jungle that soldiers fought in. Thus this living history bivouac attempts to capture the remote combat experience where tactics reduced war from the classic stance where both sides lined up facing one another on a field of battle, to the chaos of guerrilla warfare.
Greeted by a sign that reads "Welcome to the Republic of Vietnam," on which veterans are encouraged to write their name, rank, and dates of service, visitors will experience a time-capsule presentation of a unit in the field of war.
Visitors will be invited to go out on a short range recon patrol with a point-man. Long trousers and good shoes are strongly encouraged. During a 2 p.m. tactical demonstration each day, the audience can expect to hear gunfire as well as communication relays between the firebase and squad leader over authentic field radios.
New to the event this year is Doug Irwin, a local folk guitarist who will entertain the troops and public. Irwin served for real in the 82nd Airborne Division with the 1/505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. Although a veteran, he will be dressed as a green recruit set to perform at 1 p.m. on Saturday following recordings of the Armed Forces Radio Network on the camp intercom. Doug said he will "be playing some songs from the era, to stay within the appropriate time frame, and a few originals that focus on soldiers and veterans of that time as well."
The bivouac opens to the public at 10 a.m. each day. Patrol ambush demonstrations are scheduled for 2 p.m.
The Pennsylvania Military Museum and 28th Infantry Division Shrine is administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and located on South Atherton Street (Business Route 322) in Boalsburg, Pennsylvania - three miles east of State College and the Pennsylvania State University.
For more information on the museum please call 814-466-6263 or visit www.pamilmuseum.org.