By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff
Barracks facilities used to house Soldiers living and training
at Fort McCoy are being upgraded as quickly as possible, said Garrison
Commander Col. David E. Chesser.
Mark McPherson of Channel 8
Television of La Crosse talks with Soldiers from the 201st
Engineer Battalion, a Kentucky Army National Guard unit at Fort
McCoy, in a renovated barracks. (Photo
by Rob Schuette)
Chesser addressed members of the civilian media during a May 5
tour of a renovated and an unrenovated barracks facility at Fort
The tour was held to let the local communities see the
conditions of Fort McCoy barracks in light of a report from Fort
Bragg, N.C., on substandard facilities used to house permanent-party
military personnel. Installations throughout the Army, including Fort
McCoy, have been performing inspections to ensure their barracks meet
"Our Soldiers deserve the best conditions the Army, as an
institution, can provide," Chesser said. "The public
concerns and outrage are completely understandable. Our Soldiers
deserve to be treated like the heroes they are and installations
should provide a welcoming home."
The tour included an opportunity to observe the conditions in
unrenovated and renovated facilities and a chance to talk to
mobilizing Soldiers who were housed in renovated facilities.
Garrison Commander Col. David E.
Chesser (right) answers questions from Paul Medinger of Tomah
Newspapers during a tour of an unrenovated barracks at
(Photo by Rob Schuette)
Fort McCoy has spent $41.5 million in the past 20 years to
renovate 124 barracks facilities.
In the past three years, an additional $29 million has been
spent to improve the living conditions of Soldiers at Fort McCoy,
including renovating dining facilities, administrative buildings,
laundry facilities and the recreation center.
Darrell Neitzel, Directorate of Public Works director, said the
installation has an aggressive plan in place to upgrade barracks.
As funding becomes available, the renovations are made, Neitzel
Chesser emphasized that personnel who are permanently stationed
and live on post at Fort McCoy get different quarters than those here
on a transient basis -- anywhere from a weekend to about 60 days --
for mobilization training or regular battle assembly or extended
Spc. Anthony Palmer and Spc. Brandi Williams of the 201st
Engineer Battalion, a Kentucky Army National Guard unit mobilizing at
Fort McCoy, said the barracks the unit was assigned to met their
"They help keep us in the right frame of mind to complete
our mobilization training," Palmer said.
Palmer and Williams said the facilities offered comfortable