The past is used to teach the present at the new Air Defense Artillery Training Support Facility on Fort Sill.
The facility, which houses a display of air defense memorabilia, held its grand opening on Monday. Displays, which chart the growth of air defense from World War I to the present, are used to teach the 800 soldiers who come through its doors each month.
But don’t mistake the ADA Training Support Facility for a museum.
“Unlike a museum, what we go over here are lessons learned that still apply today,” said Director and Curator Correy Twilley.
Twilley started his tour for the media on Monday at the World War II display and drew the analogy between how Hitler invaded Poland and other countries in the late 1930s to how Valdimir Putin, president of Russia, has invaded Ukraine.
“We are watching history repeat itself,” Twilley said.
Twilley said the emphasis at the ADA Training Support Facility is not on the weapons, but on the lessons learned from the battles. Those lessons are still applicable to today’s modern warfighters, Twilley said.
“We talk about the technical aspects of war,” Twilley said. “We look at the weapons systems and how we use those weapons today. We give the how and the why certain weapons systems play an integral part of battle.”
Students also learn how some of the lessons learned in World War II applied to the Korean Conflict.
“We talk about how we got to the missile defense systems of today,” Twilley said.
The systems on display go from World War I to modern day. Included in the 200 artifacts is the last remaining M6 Bradley Linebacker, which has been refurbished.
Also on display in the 30,000 square feet of exhibit space is a 60-ton M247 Sgt. York, which Twilley said is the heaviest piece in the facility.
The floor was made just for that piece,” he said.
Guest speaker for the grand opening was Gen. James H. Dickinson, commander, United States Space Command.
“The work this branch does is remarkable,” he said. “The history of the branch is very bright. We have the education and the funding here at Fort Sill to make sure that happens.”
Dickinson said lasers will be the next artifacts added to the exhibit.