Big Armed Forces Day planned in community
The Lawton Fort Sill Chamber of Commerce, the Lawton Fort Sill Convention and Visitors Bureau and a consortium of local sponsors have lined up an Armed Forces Day extravaganza that's cram-packed with things to do and see.
In keeping with the theme "The Force Behind the Force," a United Service Organization (USO) Show Troupe will be the focus of the chamber's Armed Forces Day Luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Friday in the Patriot Club Ballroom, 500 Upton Road.
Tickets to the luncheon are $20 for chamber members or $25 for general admission. They must be purchased in advance by stopping by the chamber, 302 W. Gore, calling 355-3541 or by going to lawtonfortsillchamber.com and clicking the Armed Forces Day 2017 button on the "Calendars" drop-down box and scrolling down to the blue registration link.
If you do not have a Department of Defense-issued ID, remember to drop by the Visitor Center to get a pass to go on post. The center is on the east side of Sheridan Road just inside the perimeter fence.
As of Tuesday, the convention and visitors bureau had 89 entries in Saturday's Armed Forces Day Parade, more than double what it was a week ago. That includes 11 military vehicles in addition to the humvees that will be used to transport the parade marshals, Fort Sill's Drill Sergeant of the Year, its Advanced Individual Training Platoon Sergeant of the Year, Volunteers of the Year (active duty and family member) and Fort Sill Family of the Year. About 500 soldiers are expected to be marching.
This year's parade marshals will be Lawton Mayor Fred Fitch and Brig. Gen. Randy McIntire, commandant of the Air Defense Artillery (ADA) School and chief of the ADA branch.
Because Thursday is the last day of the school year, only one school organization will be marching in the parade Lawton High School's Junior ROTC cadets.
Motorists can expect road closings prior to and during the parade. C Avenue will be closed at 5:30 a.m. Saturday for the staging of parade. All side streets of C Avenue and Southwest 11th/Fort Sill Boulevard will start closing at 8 a.m. The intersection of Gore and Fort Sill Boulevards and the Cache Road and I-44 off-ramps to Northwest 2nd will start closing at 8:30 a.m.
The staging area for the parade will be in the Central Mall parking lot. Entries can start lining up at 8 a.m. Judging of floats will begin at 8:30 a.m. The winners will get plaques and bragging rights. This year, for the first time, there will be a separate contest for riding clubs, with ribbons going to the winners.
The annual Armed Forces Day Parade will step out at 10 a.m. Saturday from the starting point at Southwest 6th and C Avenue, according to Taylor Burgess, director of the Lawton Fort Sill Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The route will be the same as last year's. Entries will proceed west on C to South 11th and turn north. The parade will end at the intersection of Northwest Ferris Avenue and Fort Sill Boulevard so that military vehicles in the procession can go straight back to post once the parade is over.