Backstory and Context
.After World War II tensions were high between to Super Powers: America and Russia. This time is referred to as the Cold War, because there was no actual “war” with guns; it was a time when each country built up their Army’s and nuclear weapons. Each country was afraid of the other attacking and would do whatever they needed to do to prevent, stop, and react if they needed to. It was a time where everyone was on their toes to say the least, this is where Operation Longhorn comes into play. The United States Army had a mock war between the Soviets and themselves and dubbed it Operation Longhorn.
Although Operation Longhorn was just a test and “mock” war Military Officials wanted it to feel as real as possible and prepare the U.S. Army for what could happen and how to react if the Soviet Union was to invade. The operation took place in Lampasas County, Texas and was the largest peacetime military exercise implemented in the United States. It began in March of 1952 and costed an estimated $3.3 Million dollars. The operation included about 2,500 paratroopers being dropped down, staged battles on battle fields, locals exchanging with goods and housing with the troops, aircraft and military trucks, and so much more.
The beginning of the staged war, the Soviets captured Texas and declared Martial Law; they had now invaded and taken over Texas. The United States Army’s job was to get our state back at all means necesary. In the mock war, the “aggressor force” known as the Soviets was lead by troops from the 82nd Airborne at Fort Brag and the U.S. Troops made up 115,000 soldiers mostly from Fort Hood. Even the people who lived in Lampasas county were exptected to participate in the mock war, trade with U.S troops, allow their farms and land to be used for stations and battles and resist the enemy until a U.S. Victory.
Event though this war was set up there was 10 fatalities; some due to complications during a paratroop operation.
Many of the events from Operation Longhorn seemed realistic to soldiers who had already served in wars, such as WWII. They believed the stimulation looked and felt real, from their memories of war time before.
At the end of the war, the U.S. Seized control of the land and declared Texas a state again.
The marker reads:
"Operation Long Horn: The close of World War II brought new tensions to America that led to the Cold War. Under fear of communism and nuclear assault, the U.S. Army and Air Force simulated a war in one of the largest maneuvers ever to be staged on American soil. Called Operation Long Horn, the simulation included thwarting an invasion and recovering from an atomic attack. To carry out the mock war, which began in late March 1952, ranchers between Waco and San Angelo signed easements to their land. Several Lometa-area ranches became sites of battles and campgrounds as more than 115,000 troops came to Texas for maneuvers. The town's population grew from 900 to 22,000, and the troops and supporting civilian staff members faced life in a small town. Local residents cooperated and participated by rationing and trading with troops, offering facilities for a mock U.S.O. (United Service Organizations) facility and attending programs and presentations given by soldiers. Such programs included an airdrop of 2,500 troops, as well as weapons, equipment and rations, in a training maneuver that pitted the 31st Infantry, 47th Infantry, and 1st armored division against the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In a nationally publicized event, aggressor forces captured and occupied Lampasas (17 mi. SE), establishing mock control of media and setting curfews. The city was liberated near the end of the simulation on April 9, 1952. The $3,300,000 exercise left local residents with damaged ranch land, outbuildings, fences and gates, as well as spooked livestock, but also gave them an opportunity to experience war in their own community. (2004) "