[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                 February 13, 2009

Commander's briefing stresses 
training support efforts

Fort McCoy’s relevance in support of the Army’s training mission has never been higher, and its future looks extremely bright, said Garrison Commander Col. David E. Chesser. Chesser addressed the state of Fort McCoy during a Commander’s Briefing to the Garrison Work Force Jan. 22.

Photo: Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. David E. Chesser makes a point at a garrison work force briefing. (Photo by Val Hyde)
Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. David E. Chesser makes a point at a garrison work force briefing. (Photo by Val Hyde)

The installation is on track to achieve the vision to be a premier training center and force projection site for America’s Defense Forces, Chesser said.

Within the reserve components, Fort McCoy stands out because of what the installation has to offer, Chesser said. Fort McCoy has many advantages compared to the other Army Reserve installations (Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., and Fort Dix, N.J.). 

Fort Buchanan has no ranges and training areas. 

Fort Hunter Liggett currently lacks the infrastructure, ranges and maneuver areas to match McCoy’s capabilities. 

Fort Dix, which recently became a joint base, is probably McCoy’s biggest challenger, but can’t match the installation ranges and maneuver areas, he said.

"We are the premier site for reserve-component training," Chesser said. "The value of Fort McCoy’s stock has never been higher." Chesser acknowledged that he borrowed that quote from the installation’s Senior Commander Maj. Gen. James R. Sholar.

Chesser said that "Fort McCoy is reaping the benefits of immediately buying into, and transforming itself to support, the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) concept." He explained that the ARFORGEN concept provides a strategy for deploying Army Reserve units once every five years in support of contingency operations such as the Global War on Terror. In support of ARFORGEN, the Army Reserve developed the Army Reserve Training Strategy. Commonly known as ARTS, the strategy specifies training requirements in years one through four of ARFORGEN. A major component of ARTS is the creation of Regional Training Centers (RTC) at Dix, Hunter Liggett and McCoy and Combat Support Training Centers (CSTC) at Hunter Liggett and McCoy. RTCs are designed to support the completion of Theater Specific Individual Readiness Training whereas the CSTCs will support unit-level collective training during year four of the ARFORGEN concept. Only Hunter Liggett and McCoy currently are programmed to have both an RTC and CSTC.

With the installation’s well-developed infrastructure, ranges and maneuver training areas Fort McCoy is well-postured to support ARFORGEN and ARTS. Thus, McCoy’s relevancy to the Department of Defense, the Army, the Army Reserve and the Army National Guard is excellent. Soldiers and units will continue to pour through McCoy’s gates to complete individual training requirements in years one through three at tenant organizations such as the 84th Training Command, the Noncommissioned Officer Academy, the Regional Training Site - Maintenance, the Regional Training Site - Medical, and numerous other activities. Units continually will deploy to Fort McCoy to complete weekend Battle Assemblies, Extended Combat Training (ECT), and U.S. Army Reserve Command (USARC)-sponsored Warrior Exercises in years one through three. They will come here in year four to complete RTC and CSTC rotations, and many will return to mobilize and demobilize during year five.

"The point to all of this is that Fort McCoy is relevant because we directly support ARFORGEN and ARTS in every year of the training and deployment cycle," Chesser said.

Chesser described the CSTC as a capability similar to the active Army’s Combat Training Centers. Fort McCoy’s CSTC will replicate capabilities similar to those at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., and the Combined Maneuver Training Center at Hohenfels, Germany. Chesser said the Army Reserve already has invested $5.6 million to renovate the installation’s 800 block to house the operations group of the CSTC, which is programmed for activation in September 2010.

USARC’s decision to stand up a CSTC at Fort McCoy likely will mean more than $100 million in construction on the installation, when everything is said and done. 

"That’s a huge investment to support ARFORGEN and ARTS here at Fort McCoy," he said. "That’s job security."

2008 – The Year in Review

In 2008, nearly 128,000 personnel trained at Fort McCoy, the fourth consecutive year the training totals have increased. Chesser said that’s likely to continue as ARFORGEN requires Soldiers to train at Fort McCoy.

The Army has recognized Fort McCoy’s relevance. As a result Fort McCoy was able to garner a record $33.4 million in funding to renovate existing facilities in fiscal year 2008, he said. That funding now has been obligated and along with the 2009 funding will result in a record $51.3 million dollars of renovation this fiscal year. Chesser said this funding will allow Fort McCoy to increase its transient trainee housing capacity from 3,700 to about 6,240 renovated bed-spaces by this fall. The installation will continue to seek funding to complete renovation of all the World War II wood facilities used to support training he said. Ultimately, the goal is to complete the renovation of all existing barracks, dining, and company admin/supply buildings to achieve a bed-space capacity of 12,500 Soldiers.

In addition to modern facilities, Chesser said other organizations are recognizing McCoy’s customer-friendly attitude and support capabilities and are choosing to come here to train. This reputation is spreading throughout the Army.

Chesser offered two examples of customer service bringing distant reserve-component units to train at Fort McCoy. He spoke about the 101st Field Artillery Battalion of the Massachusetts Army National Guard and the 20th Combat Aviation Brigade of the Missouri Army National Guard. Both units conducted ECT Training at Fort McCoy in May and June 2008.

These units voluntarily chose to train at Fort McCoy, even though they have active-Army installations nearby that could have supported their training, Chesser said.

"IMCOM is thrilled with our business operations. USARC is thrilled with our support to the major exercises they conduct on the installation. These exercises continue to grow in size and number. Applying the philosophy of 'If you build it they will come,' we've built it, and they keep coming. If they didn't like it here, they wouldn't return. And we've earned the respect and admiration of First Army in the last 10 months ..."

Col. David E. Chesser,
Garrison Commander

"Prior to their departure from the installation both unit commanders stopped by to see me. They both informed me that it was difficult to get on their neighboring active-Army installations for training and when they did they were treated like second-class citizens. They told me they were treated with utmost respect here at McCoy and spoke about how the installation staff went out of their way to ensure their training was successful."

"Keep on doing it," Chesser said. "That’s what wins units over and keeps them coming here. So long as units come here to train, Fort McCoy will remain relevant."

Chesser said he appreciates the outstanding work ethic of the work force, which combined with the installation’s customer focus, has earned McCoy the respect of its higher headquarters, which include the Installation Management Command (IMCOM), USARC and First Army.

"IMCOM is thrilled with our business operations," Chesser said. "USARC is thrilled with our support to the major exercises they conduct on the installation. These exercises continue to grow in size and number. Applying the philosophy of ‘If you build it they will come,’ we’ve built it, and they keep coming. If they didn’t like it here, they wouldn’t return. And we’ve earned the respect and admiration of First Army in the last 10 months. The superlative efforts of the Mobilization Augmentation Detachment under the capable leadership of Colonel Bas Oskam and Command Sergeant Major Jeff Uhlig ensured the successful mobilization and demobilization of more than 14,000 troops in 2008. First Army has a renewed confidence in Fort McCoy," he said. 

2009 – The Road Ahead

Fort McCoy has the capability to sustain an increase in the number of troops that train here annually, he said. Many of the exercises that were conducted at Fort McCoy in 2008 will return in 2009, and most of the exercises will grow in terms of the number of Soldiers participating in the training. The Patriot Warrior exercise that was scheduled to move to Fort Hunter Liggett this year will instead return to Fort McCoy. McCoy officials also just learned that the size of the exercise, scheduled for August, has grown from 4,000 to more than 6,000 Soldiers.

Additional exercises scheduled to be conducted this year include; Platinum Wrench, Global Medic, Red Dragon, USARC Best Warrior Competition, CSTC Proof of Principal, and Global Patriot.

In 2009, the Mobilization Training Center mission is expected to remain at about the same level as in 2008. McCoy presently is programmed to support the mobilization or demobilization of about 245 units consisting of 14,000 troops.

McCoy’s building boom also includes nonappropriated funding as well. A new $4.8 million Child Development Center (CDC) currently is under construction. Later this year a $7 million Child Youth Services facility will be constructed adjacent to the CDC. Several projects recently were completed at the Pine View Recreation Area to improve the campground and prepare for an expansion. The projects included upgrades to electrical, telephone and cable services. The plan is to construct 15 new cabins in 2010. Additionally, the installation’s plan to execute a Public-Private Venture to construct a 100-room lodge, self-storage facility and an outdoor Family Activity Center in the vicinity of the Pine View Recreation Area is moving forward.

Chesser closed out the presentation saying the future of Fort McCoy is bright as evidenced by three additional factors. First, Fort McCoy has $139 million in identified construction projects on the Fiscal Year 2010-2014 Future Year Defense Plan. These are major Military Construction projects on the Chief of the Army Reserve’s priority list for congressional funding. The list represents tremendous growth and improvement on the installation and includes projects such as a Combined Arms Collective Training Area, an expansion of the NCO Academy, a mail and freight processing center, a Central Issue Facility, a public works complex, a Directorate of Information Management complex, and range upgrades to name just a few. Second, the garrison faces no new congressionally mandated (A-76) Competitive Sourcing Studies (commonly known as public-private competitions). And third, no new Base Realignment and Closure impacts are expected for the foreseeable future.


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