[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                    January 11, 2008

New ranges, structures available in 2008

By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff

      Several new facilities or ranges, including a Live Fire Shoot House and the Mobile Urban Training Site (MUTS)-North, are available at Fort McCoy to support units and personnel conducting mobilization training, extended combat training or basic combat training during the upcoming training season, said Terry Hoff.    

      Hoff, installation Range Officer, said personnel attending the installation's Training and Range Coordination Conference Thursday, Jan. 17 also can learn about other new training projects of interest, including water training opportunities at Big Sandy Lake, Engagement Skill Trainers (ESTs) near Ranges 30 and 33, and 26 new facilities/structures on post ranges/training areas to support training.     

      The MUTS-North area includes 13 containers that are single story, two-story and have underground tunnels, along with interconnecting roadways, he said. These simulate all of the facilities/infrastructure scenarios that troops would encounter in an urban setting, he said. Troops can use the facility year-round.

Photo: Personnel from the Rochester, Minn., Police Department train at Fort McCoy in a rescue mission scenario Oct. 2 near the Offense/Defense Building. (File photo)
Personnel from the Rochester, Minn., Police Department train at Fort McCoy in a rescue mission scenario near the Offense/Defense Building. (File photo)

      "Training in all of these facilities can be arranged through the Scheduling Section," Hoff said. "New and existing facilities in or near the MUTS-North area are or soon will be fully instrumented to include simulations and simulators."

      The equipment is capable of recording video and audio from the training and making it available to troops to use during their After-Action Reviews, he said. The technology currently can be used with the Shoot House.

      All of the facilities that are near the MUTS-North area, which include the Offense/Defense Building and the Urban Assault Complex, will have this capability by April.      

      The 26 new range facilities/structures include observation point bunkers, towers, covered messes, latrines, etc.

      Hoff said this will help bring standardized support structures to all of the ranges/training areas and enhance operations and training support.

      Big Sandy Lake has or is scheduled to shortly have a boat landing, four bridge abutments, and serves as the primary site for all water training at Fort McCoy. Hoff said the facility will be open as soon as "the water starts flowing" and will be available at the start of the peak training season in April.

      Meanwhile, Alderwood Lake, which served as the primary water-training site in the past, will serve as an alternate/backup water training site as needed, until it closes at a future date.

      Troops training at Fort McCoy can take advantage of ESTs near Ranges 30 and 33, which provide a simulated site for personnel to zero their weapons -- in this case M-16 rifles. This helps the Soldiers master basic marksmanship skills in a controlled environment, he said.

      "This will save them time by keeping them out near the ranges where their units are training, without returning to the cantonment area," Hoff said. "They can get the feedback and guidance they need and can't get when they're using live bullets."

      Michael Perzel III, the Troop Projects coordinator for VT Griffin, said Troop Projects work will provide several new facilities for troops to use during training. VT Griffin is the contractor that provides services for the Directorate of Logistics/Directorate of Public Works.

      The Patriot Warrior Exercise, in addition to extended combat training and basic combat training sessions, will include work on the taxiway relocation at Young Air Assault Strip, widening one kilometer of Main Supply Route Tampa to four lanes to support Improvised Explosive Device (IED)-Defeat training, portable storage shed construction and berm work at Forward Operating Base Freedom.

      Additional Troop Projects work may include a control tower, classroom and an automatic building machine facility for storage to support training at Young Air Assault Strip.

Photo: An employee from Fowler and Hammer Inc., of La Crosse works on a structure at Range 31A, a Modified Record Fire Range. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
An employee from Fowler and Hammer Inc., of La Crosse works on a structure at Range 31A, a Modified Record Fire Range. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

      Perzel said much of this work should be completed during the upcoming training season.

      "Any engineer unit that would like to consider Troop Projects work during its training at Fort McCoy is encouraged to contact the Troop Projects office," said Perzel, who will be at the conference. "We have many projects, such as road improvements, or pads or sidewalks that units can do to help support training."

      Mark Stelzner, the Fort McCoy Range Supervisory Scheduler, said the installation's new and improved facilities/ranges will help support joint training scenarios that include reserve-component, active-component and other service personnel.

      The Golden Medic Exercise will use the installation's Young Air Assault Strip semi-improved runway to support its air medical evacuation missions, he said. Participants will include Army and Air Force personnel. The facility has been improved within the past year to handle missions with C-17A aircraft.

      The Patriot Warrior and the Patriot Exercises will be held in the July-August time frame.

      Patriot Warrior includes personnel from the Army Reserve and National Guard.

      The Patriot Exercise includes Army National Guard and Air Guard personnel.

      Fort McCoy also will serve as an important training site to help units prepare for mobilization. Hoff said units are being encouraged to complete as much of this training as they can before they begin their final mobilization training because the time for final mobilization is getting shorter and more intense to accomplish the necessary tasks.

      Units are requested to view the new range safety video and take the test to be certified before they come to Fort McCoy for training, he said.

      The safety video can be viewed on the Fort McCoy Extranet, which is accessible through the public Web site at http://www.mccoy.army.mil.

      Fort McCoy can provide excellent personnel and equipment support and ranges/training facilities for any of the pre-mobilization training that units can't accomplish at their home stations, Stelzner said.

      The Equipment Concentration Site-67, for example, is receiving 1,300 new pieces of equipment to help support the Army Reserve Training Strategy.

      Fort McCoy will host a Combat Support Training Center for the Army Reserve to support training during the third year of the Army Force Generation five-year training concept.

      Units are encouraged to use these opportunities to help expedite their training needs before they are mobilized and begin final mobilization preparation, Hoff said.

      For more information about training opportunities at Fort McCoy and to reserve ranges, call the Scheduling Section at (608) 388-3721/3713/5313.

      Information about Troop Projects work can be obtained by calling Perzel at (608) 388-3551.


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