|Story & photo by Tom Michele, Eagle Systems &
Sixty Soldiers surrounded three sides of a 20-by-30-foot Fort McCoy map
during a Rehearsal of Concept (ROC) Drill conducted by Maj. Gen. Charles
Anderson, commanding general, First Army Division West.
The drill was held at Fort McCoy to prepare for the arrival of the 1st
Brigade Combat Team (BCT), 34th Infantry Division of the Minnesota Army
National Guard. Approximately 2,400 Soldiers with the 1st, 34th are
mobilizing to deploy in support of Operation New Dawn, and will train at
Rehearsal of Concept Drill
participants focus on individual computer screens, three large
projection screens, a large map of Fort McCoy, and each other as
they synchronize plans for the May-July mobilization training
for the 1st, 34th Brigade Combat Team.
Anderson, who was at the center of the tables, was flanked by Col.
Michael Todd, Col. Scott McFarlane, Brig. Gen David Elicerio and Col.
Eric Kerska. Todd is the commander of the 181st Infantry Brigade that
conducts mobilization training at Fort McCoy. McFarlane is the deputy
commander for mobilization at Fort McCoy. Elicerio is the commander of
the 34th Infantry Division. Kerska is the commander of the 1st, 34th
Todd said the assembly at the ROC drill allowed the primary leaders to
ensure all of the players are “on track” with the training plans that
have been in progress for more than a year, and that all of the training
resources are available and in place.
“First Army set the training requirements and training regime to address
Kerska’s training objectives,” Todd said.
“We at the 181st put the resources to those needs — the tactical combat
vehicles, the live-fire and training ranges, the bullets and the radios,
the physicians for the medical processing — so all will see that we have
all of the parts and pieces for the whole training experience and
picture. Then we do the final touches on the training regime and
Todd, Kerska and McFarlane’s support staffs, along with battalion
commanders from the 181st and the 1st, 34th, their command sergeant
majors, plans officers and various section directors made up the
Each section director briefed Anderson and everyone else in the room
about what was being prepared.
“We will train as mounted, dismounted, day and night,” Anderson said,
referring to convoy missions. “There will be lethal and non-lethal
engagements, vehicle-recovery and refueling operations and
border-crossing operations, all replicating what you will have
Anderson was told by 181st staff that convoy missions each will travel
about 35 miles throughout most of Fort McCoy — on North Post, South Post
and crossing Highway 21, including engagement action and after-action
“Our customer is the 1st, 34th BCT,” Anderson said. “We will provide the
best-equipped and best-trained force to go into theater.”
Anderson asked about personnel issues being satisfied, weapons
availability, food services and Soldier Readiness Center (SRC) staffing.
Lt. Col. James Ringlein, commander of the Fort McCoy Medical Command
Detachment, said Fort McCoy medical staff will be augmented by other
installations, as needed.
“This was a great ROC Drill,” Anderson said. “I look forward to the Red
Bull (1st, 34th) showing up at McCoy, and for all of you (1st, 34th and
181st) to enforce the Army standard. This will be good work. Do it
safely. Maintain the trust of your Soldiers — that is the life-blood of
the Army. The American public wants that.”
The garrison and administrative support portions of the 34th’s
mobilization training are coordinated through the Mobilization Support
McFarlane said other major garrison and administrative aspects of the
34th’s arrival include providing for billeting and dining facilities,
information technology services with computers and connections, laundry
services, transportation, Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities and
Army and Air Force Exchange Service outlets.
“All of these items are very important because we all must ensure that
each of the 34th’s Soldiers are fully ready to deploy to war the moment
they depart from Fort McCoy,” McFarlane said.