[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                  February 22, 2008

McCoy Forward Operating Bases undergo improvements to increase capabilities

By Lacey Justinger, The Real McCoy Contributor

      The Fort McCoy Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) are undergoing changes to improve the mobilization training environment capabilities.

Photo: Changes in traffic flow will change current entry-control points at Forward Operating Base Liberty to create easier access. (Photo by Lacey Justinger)
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 and ice."

      "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," said Neitzel.

      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 rainstorms.

(Justinger is a public affairs specialist for Eagle Systems and Services Inc., contractor for CONUS Support Base Services.)

(See related story.)

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