|Story & photos by Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff
Troop projects started by engineer personnel training at Fort McCoy
during 2011 helped support and enhance training at the Staff Sgt. Todd
R. Cornell Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) Academy field site at Fort
The work included removing the student sleeping tents and replacing them
with four, 64-foot Southwest Asia (SWA) wooden structures, said Master
Sgt. Joshua Shaddox, the NCO Academy operations noncommissioned officer
in charge. This work was done by the 302nd Engineer Company, the 668th
Engineer Company and the 721st Engineer Company.
Noncommissioned Officer Academy
instructors and Warrior Leader Course students plan for a
scenario in new facilities at the academy’s field site on South
Post. The wooden structures replaced tents, which could rip,
were difficult to heat during cold weather, etc., to better
support the training.
Members of the 412th Engineer Company put in ceilings and
insulation in the sleeping structures and also built an 80-foot mess
Shaddox said the site originally was constructed in the fall of
2006. The area was arranged by Terry Hoff, Fort McCoy Range officer.
Hoff said he helped NCO Academy personnel identify the right people
to talk to and coordinate the desired improvements.
Tents had been kept in place year-round to support Warrior Leader
Course (WLC) training and were subject to the weather elements,
Although some of the tents have been replaced since then, all of the
tents were in poor condition when the decision was made to replace
them with the SWA huts.
“The tents were virtually unlivable (during inclement weather),” he
said. “Terry (Hoff) helped us coordinate our needs and put us in
touch with Larry Morrow of Troop Projects.”
Morrow, Troop Projects coordinator, said engineer units did the work
during extended training, such as in the Essayons and Warrior
Exercise events, at Fort McCoy. Units sometimes did several support
projects when they conducted training during the weekends.
An exterior view of the Southwest
Asia huts constructed at the Noncommissioned Officer Academy
field training site to support the Warrior Leader Course.
“The projects engineers do at Fort McCoy give them a well-rounded
experience using their equipment and working in their military
occupational specialties,” Morrow said. “This work also supports
future troops training at Fort McCoy.”
SWA huts were chosen for the upgrade because the structures are
considered non-permanent, Shaddox said. They also will provide
healthier and safer living conditions. New connexes also have
replaced the older ones.
Sgt. Logan Fuller, an NCO Academy small group leader, said the new
facilities will help support the WLC field training.
“We were operating out of tents, and they often didn’t stand up
against the wind and other weather elements,” he said. “They were
very hard to maintain. These structures will help support our
Staff Sgt. Zac Zuehlsdorf, an NCO Academy small group leader, said
the new wooden structures will support the placement of heaters in
“It was hard for the troops to come out here during the
colder-weather months and keep their mind on training,” Zuehlsdorf
said. “This will be much better for them and for us.”
Shaddox said the new structures will allow small group leaders to
focus on training and ensure everyone attending WLC receives the
same training. When it was too cold, troops were brought out of the
field and moved back and forth between the field site and the
cantonment area instead of staying in the field 24/7 during the
field training exercise portion of the WLC.
Replacing the sleeping structure was phase one of the plan. Among
the future projects planned/under consideration are building a cadre
complex to provide sleep/working/training accommodations, extending
student sleeping structures to 80 feet (the same length as the tents
they replaced) and the cadre complex will include a 32-foot tactical
operations center area and a 32-foot aid station.
Rebuilding a roof over the new connexes will create a briefing area
for the sand table preparation areas. Future improvements also
include constructing a proper ammunition holding area.