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F.E. Warren opens gates for D.A. Russell Days

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Landon Gunsauls
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs

Though the month of July is coming to a close, some of the largest events in Cheyenne, Wyoming, kick off in the coming weeks, and that starts with Fort D.A. Russell Days on F.E. Warren Air Force Base.

Fort D.A. Russell Days is the time of year when F.E. Warren opens up their gates to the public, giving them a chance to see some of the historic structures and showcase a timeline of the various missions the base has conducted over its many years.

"Open houses like Fort D.A. Russell Days give us the opportunity to show the community our history and our mission," said Jim McDonnell, lead organizer for the event. "There's a lot of effort that goes into putting this on, but we get the opportunity to show off what we do and where we come from."

Every year, volunteer re-enactors from across the U.S. come to this three-day event to perform mock battles and represent the way people lived from the 1860s to the present day. The re-enactors range from blacksmiths to pioneers and even modern-day military personnel.

"Around 120 volunteers helped bring the 28th open house to life, starting earlier this week putting up tents and setting up the displays," said McDonnell.

Guests were not only able to watch demonstrations from multiple different time periods in American history, but also participate in a period style dance and a historical colonial church service, as well as try their hand at blacksmithing and axe throwing.

“There was so much to watch, but my favorite was the reenactors,” said Suzanne Williams, a guest to Fort D.A. Russell Days. “It’s amazing to see them in those heavy uniforms out in this heat, just to make sure that guests enjoy the event, and my family really appreciated them doing it.”

Though not officially part of Cheyenne Frontier Days, the open house is planned every year to coincide with the Daddy of ‘em All to celebrate the unique relationship between the city and the base.

“The history of the base and the city are deeply intertwined, and they have been partnering for Cheyenne Frontier Days since the late 1800s as a means of celebrating that relationship,” said Jeremiah Foster, 90th Missile Wing historian. “Fort D.A Russell Days is the continuation of that longstanding tradition to emphasis the area’s military heritage.”

This year, there was a host of event staff and reenactors ready to present their own slices of knowledge to the public, and with presentations from the 90th Security Forces Group, the Warren Fire Department, the 37th Helicopter Squadron and reenactors from a number of historical societies, the event was largely a success.

“We usually have thousands of people come to the open house as our guests,” stated McDonnell, “We put a lot into it, but when those guests visit and leave with a smile, it's all worth it."