Rocky Mountain Rifle Brigade ready for WWII reenactment
From left, are Rocky Mountain Rifle Brigade members Kenley Zylawy, Jimmie Salinas and Ralph Day as they portray U.S. soldiers in the Hurtgen Forest in Germany. (Monte Turner/Mineral Independent)
Mineral Independent | April 7, 2021 12:00 AM
They might not be Easy Company from Band of Brothers, but it’s because of men like them that The Rocky Mountain Rifle Brigade was formed almost three years ago.
With the exception of a few modern camping tents, when you walk into one of their bivouacs you might feel that you have stepped back in time to when The Greatest Generation was in the European theater in 1944.
Kenley Zylawy, a native of Mineral County and a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, lives in Alberton and is an emergency medical technician outside the region. He is one of the founders of the Brigade and has had a love of this period most of his life.
“My dad got me started when I was around 6 or 7 years old by books and stories with my other brothers. It just never went away. There is something special about that era and the ripple effect that war had. Unique in the reason that it had to be done, and the U.S. came forth and took the lead,” he said.
Along with several other members they are holding what is recognized as a ‘tactical.’
“This means everyone that participates brings their firearms, they bring their ammunition blanks, wall tents, their uniforms and camping equipment as we set up and try to live as close as we can as our infantry did. This will be a war-game and we try our best to bring original equipment, but some items will be professional replicas of the 1940s period.”
By the way, these actors are not just U.S. Army but German and Brits scattered about for even more authenticity.
Weather does not stop the events as these are held in pouring rain, snow and blistering heat. The soldiers didn’t have a choice in what conditions they fought in and neither do the RMRB. This is a boots on the ground rifle squad; the US ARMY Infantry and they take these gatherings seriously. They even have a distributer that they purchase C-Rations from that require a P-38 to open.
On Saturday, April 10 up Sawmill Gulch out of Cyr is going to be a big day for the Brigade. Because this tactical is taking place on state land, the insurance premium for the public to watch the actual battles is a bit rich for this new group.
However, those with an interest are encouraged to come to their site between noon and 3 p.m. to talk, ask questions, examine the equipment, and learn something many have not known about our troops who fought in WW II.
The number of participants that day is unknown which is the same unknown information of actual battles.
Just follow the signage and keep your head low.