For the sixth time in seven years, the Cooperstown Graduate Program has coordinated with the Army Reserves to do field training in the Cooperstown area.
According to CGP Professor Cindy Falk, about 30 soldiers from Fort Drum, six cadets from Syracuse University and six CGP students from her Culture and Collections class worked together on training exercises over a three-day weekend, from Thursday, March 25, to Saturday, March 27.
“We did what we have been doing since 2015,” Falk said. “We just had to do it differently this year.”
To accommodate coronavirus restrictions, the group had a hard cap of 50, Falk said, and the soldiers, cadets and students were kept apart as much as possible to avoid any health issues.
Beginning Thursday, March 25, the soldiers – reservists from the 403rd Civil Affairs Battalion’s Alpha Company in Syracuse – did classroom training, with a remote seminar from Bassett Healthcare Network officials and in person lectures from the CGP and Fort Drum officials.
On Friday, the soldiers and cadets worked on a mass casualty and evacuation drill.
On Saturday, the students and soldiers followed up on the previous day’s drills by doing an assessment and protection drill focused on cultural treasurers in a combat zone.
“We didn’t do the aviation this year,” Falk said. “We didn’t do the helicopters, which is always popular, because we did not want to do anything to encourage a large group of people gathering.”
Falk said the idea for a combined training exercise dates back to a 2012 lecture she heard at University of Delaware, where she got her master’s degree in museum science. A few years later, she said she and then Otsego County Treasurer Dan Crowell, who was an Army reservist at the time, were brainstorming about ways to do a combined training exercise.
In 2015, they coordinated a combined seminar and two years later, they turned it into a drill similar to the one they did this year.
“It has just continued to grow since then,” Falk said.
Last year, the drills took place in early March, just days before the pandemic shut down New York.
Falk said CGP and the soldiers wanted to thank the village of Cooperstown, Bassett, The Clark Foundation and the Cooperstown Fire Department for donating space or helping coordinate the drills. The CFD also cooked chili for the soldiers, she said. Falk’s husband, Glenn Falk, is the CFD President.
Falk said the Alpha Unit soldiers will be deploying in January, and they reported that they thought the training was very useful to their potential missions abroad.
“They loved being here,” she said. “The community is so welcoming and enthusiastic about them being here. Cooperstown is a great place for that.”