Engines rumbled in the background as hundreds of people lined up to attend the Army Ten Miler Expo this past October. Vehicles from all across the Army lined the lawn of the D.C. Armory: Helicopters, semitrucks and Humvees all waited to be inspected by the crowd.
Among the collection of vehicles were the Mission Support Battalion’s “adventure semis,” which are trucks equipped with a variety of simulators, games and information for patrons wanting to learn more about the Army.
“We’re here to showcase the Army and give the public a chance to experience the Army and meet real Soldiers,” Lt. Col. James Perry, commander, said.
The MSB, which is part of Army Accessions Command, supports Recruiting and Cadet commands by connecting America’s youth to the Army. The battalion was originally founded in 1936 when a small group of Soldiers was tasked to develop and man an Army exhibit at the World’s Fair, according to the MSB website (www.usarec.army.mil). In 1951, the U.S. Army Exhibit Unit was officially formed and assigned to the Army chief of information to take the story of the Army to the public.
The battalion joined the recruiting family in 1971, and by 2002 it was in place under USAAC.
Perry added that there are four subunits within the MSB: The Mobile Exhibit Company, which is in charge of vehicles like the adventure semis; the National Conventions Division, which supports Army-sponsored conventions; the 113th Army Band, which provides musical support and community outreach; and the Contract Quality Assurance Division, which provides oversight to the contractors working with the battalion.