MABRY, Texas (4/23/2012) — Wildflowers waved in the gentle breeze as
a convoy of World War II era military vehicles rumbled down the
dusty road. Soldiers with American flag brassards rode atop the
troop carriers and tanks, headed toward the battered farmhouse
standing in a lonely field. Their mission, intercept the German Army
as it retreated up the Rhone River Valley.
(photo left), a private in the Living History Detachment, 36th
Infantry Division, kept his eyes fixed ahead as he drove his troops
onto the battlefield (photo below). When his halftrack vehicle
rolled over an explosive charge, Meyers joined the assault against
the Germans on the ground.
Meyers participated in the
re-enactment of the Battle of Montelimar on a sunny Saturday
afternoon during the Texas Military Forces Open House featuring the
American Heroes Air Show, April 21-22, 2012, at Camp Mabry, Austin,
Sgt. Shane Meyers, of Headquarters Headquarters Company, 136th
Maneuverability Enhancement Brigade, participates in a World War II
battle re-enactment during the Texas Military Forces Open House at
Camp Mabry, Austin, Texas, April 21-22, 2012. Meyers, who is the
driver in the photo with fellow soldiers, became involved in the
re-enactment community after returning from his second deployment.
Photo by Army Sgt. Suzanne Carter
As a sergeant in the Army National Guard, Meyers deployed
to Afghanistan in 2008 and Iraq in 2010. Meyers decided to
get involved in bringing history to life upon returning from
his last deployment.
"After I deployed to Iraq in
2010, one of the first things I did was go out and buy a
full kit for World War II re-enacting," he said. "It is
The kit, which includes
period uniforms and equipment, signaled just the beginning
of Meyers' leap into reenacting. He has since branched into
Civil War and Vietnam War re-enactments, investing thousands
of dollars into the hobby that connects the past with the
"We do this because we love it," Jeff Hunt,
Texas Military Forces Museum Director, said about the
reenacting community. "I think it's important for the troops
and for society to connect with the past so they can
understand the realities of war, so they know what we're
asking our troops to do when we send them in harms way."
The idea of Living History captured Meyers' attention
between deployments after he spent six months working for
the Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry.
"Shane was a natural at the museum," Hunt said. "He really
took to it and showed great care in building the exhibits.
"He brings a sense of delight, enthusiasm and wonderment at
the discovery of connections to history. Then he turned
around and uses that to become an educator."
bachelor's degree in history and future plans to study for a
master's degree, Meyers takes every reenactment as an
opportunity to deepen his understanding of military history
and the evolution of equipment, tactics and standards.
"To come out and experience ... the way they fought,"
Meyers said, "experience the armor and the tactics, it gives
me a better appreciation for the knowledge I have of the
history of World War II."
According to Hunt,
re-enactment organizations strive for the most accurate and
authentic representation of historic battles. Meyers uses
his experience in the Guard to bring another level of
expertise and attention to detail to the reenactments.
"It helps me out because when I see things that I know
are wrong, that make my eyes twitch because I know they're
wrong, I can just step forward and be like no, no, no, we
have to do it this way," Meyers said. "Because you can only
read so much in the history books."
On a recent trip
to participate in a re-enactment of the Civil War Battle of
Shiloh in Tennessee, Meyers recalled how the mud and the
rain lent the re-enactment an extra note of authenticity
since the Confederate and Union armies fought in similar
Meyers said he hopes to continue
investing in the re-enactment community to promote awareness
among Americans, young and old, of the sacrifices service
members have made throughout the country's history.
He said, "I hope they come away from the battle re-enactment
with an increased appreciation for the troops that are in
By Army Sgt. Suzanne Carter
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