By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff
Even snow and the prospect of temperatures steadily declining
to the below zero range in the following days did not prevent several
hundred military personnel from attending the annual Range and
Training Coordination Conference Jan. 17 at Fort McCoy.
Installation Command Sergeant
Major Command Sgt. Maj. M.
Kevin Dubois addresses the audience at the annual Fort McCoy
Range and Training Coordination Conference.
(Photo by Rob Schuette)
Many of the personnel came from the southern part of the
country, according to a show of hands during the briefings. The
mission of everyone who showed up was to get the information they
needed to ensure their training later this year goes smoothly.
Installation Deputy Commander Lt. Col. David L. Jessop covered
some general information about training at Fort McCoy, including
priorities on the ranges and other training areas.
"Mobilizing and demobilizing troops will have the priority
because of their mission," Jessop said. "The installation
cares about and will ensure that everyone training at Fort McCoy
accomplishes their missions."
"We have a very professional staff here that will go out
of their way to help you," he said. "If you need something
all you have to do is ask the staff, and they will do their darnedest
to help you get what you need to accomplish the mission."
The installation also prides itself on its overall safety
record. Jessop said units need to think safety at all times and ensure
their troops take all the necessary steps, such as completing
composite risk management assessments, to help promote safe training.
Installation Command Sgt. Maj. M. Kevin Dubois said other
installation safety information personnel should be aware of are the
restrictions on cell phone use while driving, wearing Kevlar helmets
at all times in tactical vehicles and requiring two people in an
Motorists at Fort McCoy cannot use cell phones while driving
unless the cell phones are hand's-free models or the motorists come to
a stop, he said.
Two people must be in uparmored vehicles or any other larger
vehicles to provide ground guides, etc.
"(Leaders) need to pay attention to detail and enforce the
(Army) standards while you're here training," Dubois said.
"If you don't do it here, it's hard to do it elsewhere, such as
during a deployment. (Doing things to Army standards) can be a matter
of saving a life over there."
Steve Shanks, the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization
and Security (DPTMS) Training Division chief, said the installation's
training tempo will be very busy during the upcoming spring/summer
Michael Perzel III (second from
right), the Troop Projects coordinator for Fort McCoy, discusses
his program at the training conference. (Photo
by Rob Schuette)
Shanks stressed that units need to remain flexible in their
requests for ranges and training areas.
"We won't be over capacity, and we will do our best to
accommodate everyone," Shanks said. "You may not always get
the ranges/firing when you want them, but it's important that when you
schedule a range you use it during that time."
Shanks said if units discover they can't train during a
specific time frame they need to tell the installation right away so
the training areas can be rescheduled. Units also need to take
advantage of the Interactive Customer Evaluation system via the
Internet or comment cards to tell the installation about the good
things it does, what services could be improved and what services are
important or what's not important.
The Range Scheduling Section in building 2113 serves as a
one-stop shop for units to get or coordinate everything they need to
train at Fort McCoy, said Mark Stelzner, Scheduling supervisor.
Personnel are encouraged to fill out the required paperwork and
ensure it's completed correctly to get the ranges/training areas they
want, he said.
Other topics addressed included new ranges/training
enhancements coming on line, new facilities that have been completed
since the last conference, such as the Commissary, building 1537, and
Terry Hoff, installation Range officer, said beginning in about
a month personnel will be encouraged to get their Range Safety
Briefings via the Fort McCoy Extranet or via DVDs (Digital Video
Discs) before they come to Fort McCoy to train.
Sgt. 1st Class Eduardo Vargas, the battalion supply sergeant
for the 396th Combat Support Hospital of Vancouver, Wash., said his
unit will participate in the Golden Medic exercise this summer.
"We come to Fort McCoy to train because it has good
training areas and good support," Vargas said. "The
briefings helped emphasize how important it is to submit paperwork on
time. Fort McCoy has the best customer service."
1st Lt. Alberto Bonifacio, the training and operations officer
for the 3274th U.S. Army Hospital of Fort Bragg, N.C., said his Army
Reserve unit will conduct extended combat training at Fort McCoy in
"I liked the consolidated briefing and having all the
responsible parties in one place at the same time," Bonifacio
said. "It saves the time of having to drive around."
Maj. Shirley Trya, the U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC) Unit
Training Division, and Maj. Michael Magnus of the 646th Regional
Support Group of Madison, Wis., will be involved in providing command
and control for Operation Platinum Wrench (OPW) this summer.
OPW is a USARC-directed exercise that helps Army Reserve
maintenance Soldiers get hands-on training.
The Soldiers assist the Installation Maintenance Materiel
Activity staff members in completing their assigned work.
"The representatives of the units (that will provide
manpower) for OPW also are here," Trya said. "We can meet
with them and let them know we are here to support them and get a
better understanding with the units."
The units come from Puerto Rico, Texas, California and
Minnesota, Magnus said, so the briefing provides them with a one-stop
service to get everything coordinated.
Lt. Col. Tim Maguire, the director of the 2008 Patriot Warrior
exercise, which will be held at Fort McCoy and Volk Field this summer,
said the exercise will include Army National Guard personnel at Fort
McCoy and Air Guard personnel at Volk.
The joint mission will include the Air Force transporting the
Army troops via aircraft, such as the C-17A and C-130 cargo transport
aircraft, air drop and resupply missions between Volk Field and Fort
McCoy and combat training.
Some of the Army personnel involved will deploy to Southwest
Asia in the future. The exercise also will include simulations of a
natural disaster, such as a hurricane, he said.
"This gives the Army personnel training on combat
missions," Maguire said. "It also gives the Air Force
personnel training on missions we would do to support the Army during
Maguire said it was very valuable to see how the Army conducted
its briefings because he will conduct a similar briefing at Volk Field
in the near future.
Lt. Col. Monica Stafford, a dentist with the 322nd Medical
Company of Southfield, Mich., said her unit will be at Fort McCoy to
participate in the Global Medic exercise.
"This briefing is great because it's the little details
that can trip you up," Stafford said. "We will attend the
Regional Training Site-Medical briefing (Jan. 18) to get more specific
information on the exercise."
For more information about training at Fort McCoy, contact the
Range Scheduling Section at (608) 388-3721/3713/5313 or visit the Fort
McCoy Extranet, which is available through the Fort McCoy Corporate
Network or from the public Web site http://www.mccoy.army.mil.