Battle of Lincoln Park
Mock battle rocks Pittsburg
Caitlin Taylor | Collegio Reporter
Pittsburg State University’s National Guard presented a mock battle at Lincoln Park at noon Saturday, July 3, for Pittsburg’s annual Independence Day celebration.
Standing in 90-degree weather, Pittsburg residents lined the area set aside for the battle, a showdown between a group of National Guard soldiers and a smaller group of “bad guys.”
Once the battle was over, children and adults flooded the pretend battlefield to collect the remnants of artillery shells to take as souvenirs.
Staff Sgt. D.J. Perry, recruiting officer at Pittsburg State University, has been helping coordinate these mock battles for 10 years now.
“We try to do the battle every year,” Perry said. “I think there was one year, maybe in 2008, that we weren’t able to do it because some of us were deployed.”
Perry says that to execute this mock battle, the soldiers prep for several weeks to figure out routes and who will be on which team.
During the two days before the battle, Perry says the guard coordinates with the city and helps rope off and route the track for them.
“It’s a huge event for the city,” Perry said. “It’s also the biggest Fourth of July event of the weekend.”
Perry says the participants of the mock battle consisted of half recently enlisted soldiers and half seasoned soldiers.
“It’s a good mix, that way the new soldiers can get a taste of what goes on and the seasoned soldiers are there to help them,” Perry said. “It’s good training for these guys.”
During the battle, explosions and gunfire rocked the area. Perry says that smoke bombs and artillery simulators were used to help make the event feel real.
“The artillery simulators are like the air backup for the soldiers,” Perry said. “When you hear the whistling sound, it’s supposed to be the shells falling from the sky.”
Staff Sgt. Jeremy Layman played one of the bad guys.
“I’ve been doing these mock battles since the mid ‘90s and it’s always a ton of fun,” Layman said.
Layman says that the first mock battles for the Independence Day celebration started in 1989, and the city asked the guard to perform these battles.
“It’s always the good guys vs. the bad guys, and the U.S. always wins,” Layman said.
Layman says that typically it’s the same scenario of battles every year. But there are some years when they have switched it up slightly and done things like capturing pirate flags.
“These battles are always the highlight of people’s Fourth of July,” Layman said.