[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                     January 28, 2011

New DPTMS branch helps ensure successful exercises

By Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff

A recently formed Training Coordination Branch allows Fort McCoy to focus its resources to ensure the success of units conducting extended training missions at the installation.

Capt. Jim Lavelle, a planning specialist and a Military Training Officer for the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS), said the branch, formed about four months ago, supports all unit training of two weeks or longer, including large-scale exercises and extended combat training.

“Many of the units involved in exercises may not realize the resources we have available to support their training,” Lavelle said. “We can guide them on how to get the best service and how to operate more smoothly. That allows them to be more focused on training.”

Training for two weeks or longer requires a good deal of advanced planning, he said. Units involved in the exercises usually have initial, midpoint and final conferences.

The initial conference is held in a location convenient to the units involved in an exercise. Lavelle said the final conference often is held at Fort McCoy, which allows units to visit the facilities on the installation.

Individual conferences for each exercise allow the installation to provide tailored support to the units, he said.

Craig Meeusen of the Training Coordination Branch said the need for the branch was identified during the last several years.

The annual training coordination conference was eliminated because much of the information provided can be obtained through the Internet, which reduces travel, costs and time.

“Even with the (expected) loss of the mobilization training mission later this year, we still will have a robust training schedule,” Meeusen said. “The exercises keep returning here and are growing. This organization is a cost-effective way to support their training.”

Lavelle said the branch also meets with Army National Guard battalions and brigades in the region to see how Fort McCoy can support their training and lets them know what is available at Fort McCoy in both facilities and services.

The big key is flexibility and making training procedures as unit- and mission-friendly as possible, he said.

Ed Carns, chief of the DPTMS Training Division, said the branch also includes an ammunition manager, Brad Flaten, who can help units arrange all their ammunition needs for training at Fort McCoy.

“These personnel focus on large, functional exercises and battalion- and brigade-level extended combat training,” Carns said. “These units have more complex training needs, and they don’t operate at Fort McCoy every day. Overall, the branch people enhance Fort McCoy’s military value to its customers.”

McCoy already has seen its support pay off, Lavelle said.

Last year, part of the Red Dragon exercise was held at another location.

“They weren’t as successful supporting the training as we were, so that part of the exercise is coming back to us this year,” he said.

Meeusen said Fort McCoy can accommodate and support training by different service branches, non Department of Defense government agencies and state/local law-enforcement agencies.

“The goal is to spread out the training so more can be done in the spring and fall as well as the summer months,” he said. “We would like to get back to the point we can attract more active-duty units,” such as special operations and airborne units.

Carns said another goal is to recruit more units to participate in winter training.

For more information about support for extended training at Fort McCoy, units can call Lavelle at 608-388-7230 or Meeusen at 608-388-8589.

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