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May 13, 2011

Mobilization

ROC Drill prepares for Minnesota National Guard arrival, training

Story & photo by Tom Michele, Eagle Systems & Services

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 Fort McCoy.
PHOTO: Rehearsal of Concept Drill participants. Photo by Tom Michele
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 BCT.

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 design.”

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 assembly.

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 in-theater.”

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 reviews.

“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 Brigade.

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.

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