Real Soldiers, Martian Foes

Army 10th Mountain Division Spc. Kenneth Wright, of Bakersfield, Calif., decribes his acting experience during the filming of Steven Spielberg's movie "War of the Worlds," Monday, June 27, 2005, in Fort Drum, N.Y. (AP Photo/Kevin Rivoli)
They've hunted down terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, opposed rebels in Bosnia and battled warlords in Somalia.

Now, 10th Mountain Division troops are facing off against Martian invaders — with no less than the fate of the Earth in the balance.

The soldiers were called on by Steven Spielberg, who picked Fort Drum troops to star in his remake of the H.G. Wells classic "War of the Worlds." The movie, starring Tom Cruise, opens nationwide Wednesday, but the actor-soldiers were treated to a sneak preview Monday night at the post movie theater.

"It feels awesome to help save the world," said Sgt. Christopher Lumpiesz, of Tampa, Fla., who gets to help shoot down a Martian ship in the movie.

Lumpiesz, who saw real combat in Afghanistan, was one of 42 10th Mountain Division soldiers who play roles in two scenes in the movie. Other military units from the Army and Marines appear in the movie as well.

Thirty-two of those watched the movie Monday night, along with a capacity crowd of special guests. The other 10 soldiers were on leave or have been reassigned since the scenes were shot in the first week of December in upstate New York and Connecticut.