By Lacey Justinger, The Real McCoy
The Fort McCoy Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) are undergoing
changes to improve the mobilization training environment capabilities.
Changes in traffic flow will
change current entry-control points at Forward Operating Base
Liberty to create easier access. (Photo
by Lacey Justinger)
FOBs have increased overall capacity with the installation of
additional tents and have the ability to support more than 1,000
Soldiers or two battalion-sized units at each site. The mobilizing
Soldiers' quality of life on the FOBs should improve as well with the
addition of new bunk beds, foot and wall lockers, showers, sewer
systems and concrete bunkers. The addition of bunk beds has decreased
the number of Soldiers housed per tent from 16 to 12. Plus all
sleeping tents will have new heating or cooling units installed.
"This should improve things for the Soldier, and they will
appreciate this," said Maj. Margaret R. Fierst, with the 181st
Infantry Brigade Eagle Command Post. "It's a continuous plan.
Every year our concept of training changes."
Along with physical improvements, the FOBs will have changes in
command and logistics personnel this summer.
"It's a combination of assets. It is the intention of the
installation to take over the operation of the FOBs, with a
combination of contract employees and mobilized Soldiers assigned to
the installation," said Steve Shanks, chief of the training
division with the Directorate of Emergency Services/ Directorate of
Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security. "The 181st Infantry
Brigade will operate as mayors, and their leadership will be supported
by contractors in the transition of day-to-day operations like water
"We're a training brigade, we're not logistics," said
Fierst, in regard to the 181st running FOB logistics. "Yet in
order to train these Soldiers we've had a large responsibility to
provide logistical support to these units and that's not our function.
We need more support from post."
"We need additional augmented military positions to
oversee and manage the mayoral cells long term," said Darrell
Neitzel, with the Fort McCoy Directorate of Public Works.
"Additional contractors also will be in place for logistical
functions, to operate and facilitate the FOBs."
Neitzel added that plans are in place to "beef up FOB
perimeters" with additional security cameras, lighting and
barriers, as well as new guard towers and force-protection gates at
FOB Freedom. Secure Internet Protocol Router network (SIPRnet) also
will be available at both FOB Freedom and FOB Liberty.
A new entry-control point (ECP) at FOB Liberty will alleviate
foot-traffic safety hazards and traffic congestion in the FOB and on
the surrounding roads. The new entrance will be inserted through the
existing berm, and an old tank trail that led to the situational
training exercise lane will be expanded and upgraded. The plan is
patterned after in-theater traffic flows.
"The new and improved ECP will really improve traffic
flow, especially with the concentration of engineer vehicles that are
so big and bulky," said Fierst.
"It will be easier for convoys and military vehicles to
enter the FOB, and it will be much safer with one-way traffic,"
Additional parking lots will be created for government and
personal vehicles, as well as motor pools large enough to sustain two
engineer battalions. A bus lane will be created for the safe loading
and dismounting of Soldiers during training transportation. An added
service gate will allow laundry, repair and food-service vehicles to
enter and leave the FOBs without getting caught in training convoys.
The individual movement techniques training lane that was
located in Liberty has been moved and expanded. Plus, new drainage
improvements should prohibit 'Lake Liberty' from forming after heavy
(Justinger is a public affairs specialist
for Eagle Systems and Services Inc., contractor for CONUS Support Base
(See related story.)