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March 12, 2010

Mobilization

181st supports engineers in Texas,
gears up for McCoy mission

By Tom Michele, Eagle Systems & Services

During a brief lull in the Fort McCoy mobilization training schedule, about 90 Soldiers from Fort McCoy spent two weeks conducting mobilization training at Camp McGregor located in the New Mexico desert, in support of an Iraq-bound unit. McGregor is adjacent to Fort Bliss, Texas.

PHOTO: Soldiers from the 367th Engineer Battalion interact with civilian role players during training at Camp McGregor. Members of the 181st Infantry Brigade of Fort McCoy conducted the unit’s mobilization training. Photo by Capt. Justin Kramer
Soldiers from the 367th Engineer Battalion interact with civilian role players during training at Camp McGregor. Members of the 181st Infantry Brigade of Fort McCoy conducted the unit’s mobilization training. Photo by Capt. Justin Kramer

Most of the McCoy Soldiers were from the 3rd Battalion, 340th Training Support Battalion, 181st Infantry Brigade, which conducts the mobilization training at McCoy. About 25 were from the 340th’s sister battalions.

“Our mission at Fort McCoy is to run the Mission Rehearsal Exercises (MRE) for Soldiers mobilizing and in preparation for deployment to Operations Iraqi Freedom or Enduring Freedom,” said Lt. Col. Brian Tuson, 340th commander.

Many National Guard and Army Reserve engineer units train at Fort McCoy for their Iraq or Afghanistan tours, Tuson explained. However, the 367th Engineer Battalion, out of Minnesota, with elements from Colorado and Illinois, conducted training at McGregor “because it is very difficult for horizontal engineers to move dirt with their bulldozers, graders and front-end loaders in the Wisconsin winter environment,” Tuson said.

The McCoy Soldier-trainers filled in the blanks in New Mexico, to provide and share their expertise where engineer training is not part of normal training. “We ran the same training at McGregor that we do at McCoy,” he said.

The training included construction of “Quonset hut” structures and an approximately 200-meter-by-200-meter leveled, graded and graveled lot for a new motor pool.

The exercise also included a road-improvement project through one of the simulation villages, much like the roadside villages at McCoy.

The training included Soldiers performing engineers’ technical skills and also tactical convoy movement to and from training sites.

During the MRE, Soldiers conducted route-clearance missions to patrol streets and roads to detect improvised explosive devices, recovered damaged vehicles, prepared wounded Soldiers for medical evacuation by helicopter, and constructed small residential structures and perimeter berms.

The MRE also helped the McCoy Soldiers to fine-tune their training skills and hit the Wisconsin ground running. About 500 Soldiers from the 1092nd Engineer Battalion arrived at McCoy to begin their mobilization training two days after the 181st contingent returned.

“We provided the 367th’s mob training with the most-realistic training a unit can perform before deployment, so they are as best-prepared as we can get them as they deploy,” Tuson said. “Our mission really was all about supporting the 367th’s training. The 367th is deploying as a better unit than when they started.”

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