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March 22, 2013


86th Training Division Mid-Planning workgroup a success

By Capt. Greta Fennell, 86th Training Division Public Affairs Officer

FORT MCCOY, Wis. — With the summer months soon approaching, many military units are well into planning their annual training.

The 86th Training Division, which is headquartered at Fort McCoy, hosted a Mid-Planning workgroup (MPWG) in February here, prior to its Warrior Exercise (WAREX) in July and a Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX) in August.
PHOTO: Soldiers attending the 86th Training Division Mid-Planning workgroup at Fort McCoy talk about the upcoming Warrior Exercise and Combat Support Training Exercise. Contributed photo
Soldiers attending the 86th Training Division Mid-Planning workgroup at Fort McCoy talk about the upcoming Warrior Exercise and Combat Support Training Exercise to be held at Fort McCoy later this year. The meeting allowed unit representatives to work out issues, talk with Fort McCoy support personnel and tour the installation’s training facilities.
(Contributed photo)

Nearly 300 Army Reserve and active-duty Soldiers from throughout the country attended the MPWG, including three key functional players: the 85th Training Division, the 75th Training Division, and the Medical Readiness Training Command.

The 86th conducted briefings as a large group, with separate breakout sessions for WAREX and CSTX. Exercise personnel, including base commanders; observers, controllers and trainers; and support units, had an opportunity to work together, network, and solve issues.

“The Mid-Planning workgroup gave the training audience and exercise control a chance to collaborate,” said Lt. Col. William J. Nelson, Deputy G3-7, MPWG executive officer in charge.

Command Sgt. Maj. Jeorge A. Martin from the base commander’s group explained that it was valuable to exchange ideas face-to-face, which ultimately helps with a seamless transition of movement throughout ranks.

The MPWG answered many questions for the participants.

“It helped us understand the process so everyone understood ahead of time,” explained Maj. Robert J. Disney, Small Arms Readiness Battalion executive officer, 86th Operations Brigade.

He compared this year to last year, stating the 86th is farther ahead and more organized. “I feel we are one conference ahead.”

The response was positive overall, and attendees saw the value in the MPWG. “It would not only be short-sighted to cut conferences,” said Martin, “it would also be a disservice to the exercises and to Soldiers.”

Capt. Jim Lavelle, a plans officer with the Office of Training Coordination for the Fort McCoy Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, said holding the mid-planning conference at Fort McCoy allows the attendees to come to the installation, conduct site visits of the training areas and meet the Fort McCoy staff who will support their training.

The other important advantage is it is significantly less expensive to hold the conference at Fort McCoy than at an off-site location, such as a hotel, Lavelle said.

“It’s important for units and Soldiers to come here ahead of time to get a feel for Fort McCoy and the training areas if this is their first time here or even if they were here five years ago,” Lavelle said. “We’ve made a lot of improvements in the last few years. The post looks a lot different and has added many updated training areas and services to support units’ training needs.”

For more information about scheduling training areas at Fort McCoy, call Range Scheduling at 608-388-4142/3721.

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