After Action Report No. 2
Date: 18-21 Sep 2014
Type: Public Display/Battle
Place: Rockford, IL
Report filed by: Pvt Williams, Peter
I attended the annual WWII reenactment at Midway Village Museum in Rockford, IL September 19-21. Since I was the only member of Company A, 116th Infantry Regiment attending, I decided to go in one of my Army Air Force impressions.
One aspect that changed this year was the use of wristbands. All reenactors received a wristband at registration and were required to wear it at all times. MPs manning the gates would escort any reenactor not wearing their wristband off the premises of the museum. I believe this was a positive move by the event coordinators in an effort to ensure only genuine reenactors were participating in weekend events, and that reenactors who completed Safety and Authenticity checks were allowed on the battlefield.
A negative aspect I encountered was the enforcement of an inconvenience fee of $10 if you didn’t pre-register. Being someone who hasn’t attended Rockford for several years, I didn’t pre-register as I was used to registering at the event, so I was forced to pay the fee, as did dozens of other reenactors who were either first time attendees, or like me, hasn’t attended the event in several years.
I noticed also safety and authenticity standards were enforced more rigorously this year than the previous years I attended, and units and individual reenactors in general did a much better job at policing themselves (although I observed two units using OD painted nylon Boy Scout wall tents). I also noticed a huge number of female reenactors when compared to previous years.
An incident which occurred which shouldn’t have actually coincidentally happened at S&A. A British reenactor pulled back the bolt of his Sten to show the S&A officer, then removed a Sten magazine from his pouch so it could be examined as well. After showing the magazine, he loaded it into the weapon (first mistake; this NEVER should have happened). Then, noticing the bolt was back, he pulled the trigger to
release the bolt, discharging his fully automatic in a very crowded area (reenactors were in formation only a yard in front of him). While recognized as an absent-minded mistake, it was a stupid one, which could have seriously injured someone. It should serve as a reminder to all of us to make certain we are aware of weapon safety at all times.
Other than this specific instance, I am unaware of any other safety issues which occurred at the event.
Due to the large number of reenactors in attendance (over 1,200) and the relatively small battlefield, I decided not to participate in any of the battles. The crowd seemed to be pleased with them, however. The dance was held in an indoor soccer/basketball sports complex this year. The acoustics left something to be desired, but at least there was room to mill about and enjoy conversation. The band was actually quite good, so kudos to the coordinators for booking them.
Overall a great event. Better than previous years. I encourage the rest of the unit to consider attending next year.