Camp Grafton hosted “Friends and Neighbors Day,” on Saturday. There was food, camp tours, “video games” for the kids (and adults), and a very festive, friendly time. This was the first open house held by the Camp

Camp Grafton hosted “Friends and Neighbors Day,” on Saturday.  There was food, camp tours, “video games” for the kids (and adults), and a very festive, friendly time.  This was the first open house held by the Camp.

“Since 9-11 all government installations have tightened security,” said Bill “Pro” Prokopyk.  “It never used to be like this.  That’s why we’re hosting this.  We want our the community, our friends and neighbors, to know what’s going on.”  “Pro,” as he prefers, is with the North Dakota National Guard Public Affairs Office, in Bismarck.

The open house started at 10 a.m, and went to 3 p.m.  Shuttle rides were available every fifteen minutes to the RTI, CSMS, and Confidence Course.  There was also a “windshield” bus tour of the Camp that took about forty minutes.  

Registration took place an equipment building.  Food was first.  Communication and command center tents were set up next to the picnic tables, and beyond were a weapons display and three vehicles.  Anyone could handle any of the weapons and crawl through the vehicles.

Out the back and across the lot was the simulation building.  There was a HumVee body for roll-over training (people could sit in it but not roll in it) and the simulation rooms, one a rifle range, that other a combat scenario—a wall length video game with a variety of weapons, M4s all the way to a .50-cal and the Mark-19 (your humble writer took part with some nine- and ten year olds in repulsing an insurgent incursion).

“The Camp plays an important role in training recruits,” said Lt. Col. Mark Topp, “and that role is growing.  We are second only to Fort Leonard Wood’s schoolhouse in training engineers, and we’re trying to grow that and other training opportunities.”

“We try to be a good neighbor,” said Col. Ed Johnson, Camp Commander.  “This camp is very important to the community and region.  We have a lot of people who live in the area and work at the camp.  We think it’s important for our friends and neighbors to have an opportunity to gain a better understanding of what we do here at Camp Grafton.”