By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff
Army National Guard and Reserve Soldiers honed their convoy
skills during a walk-, crawl- and run-training program held in May at
the Wisconsin Military Academy (WMA) at Fort McCoy.
Students sharpen their convoy
skills on the Virtual Convoy Operations Training computer
software system at the Wisconsin Military Academy. (Photo
by Rob Schuette)
The crawl phase began at the WMA Simulation Center, with a
course on convoy simulation. Staff Sgt. Christopher Theis, a WMA
Simulation Center specialist, said the WMA uses the Virtual Convoy
Operations Training (VCOT) computer software system, which teaches the
most current convoy tactics for use in-theater. The National Guard
Bureau issued the WMA the equipment to support training.
"You have to know the rules of engagement and which threat
is most imminent to your safety during convoy training," Theis
said. "(Establishing and maintaining good) communication between
the convoy members also is very important."
Staff Sgt. Douglas Krueger, a WMA Infantry instructor, said the
instruction personnel get before they get into the vehicles and do
convoy training in the field is very important. During the convoy
simulation training, instructors can critique Soldiers' reactions and
offer helpful feedback at any time during the simulations. Soldiers
can ask questions about incidents and their responses, and possible
The Soldiers also can repeat scenarios and pick up valuable
information and insight they might have missed the first time through
a scenario, Krueger said.
The crawl part of the training also included an introduction to
infantry squad tactics training.
This covered dismounted squad tactics training, he said.
Army National Guard and Reserve
Soldiers honed their convoy skills during a walk-, crawl- and
run-training program held in May at the Wisconsin Military
Academy (WMA) at Fort McCoy. (Photo
by Rob Schuette) (The Real McCoy Online Extra)
"This training would come into play during a convoy
scenario if a convoy was attacked, and they had to get out of the
vehicle (to find the perpetrators or to defend themselves),"
The walk-through phase was done in the field before the convoy
scenario. Krueger said this was a practice run, which allowed troops
to go through a convoy scenario and tactics and review their actions.
"This is a natural progression," Krueger said.
"The training gives them insight into convoy tactics before they
get into the vehicles and do that training."
Staff Sgt. James Smithson, an Army National Guard Soldier with
B Troop, 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry of the 32nd Separate Infantry
Brigade (Light) of Watertown, Wis., said the simulation training was
helpful to teach his group the importance of using good communications
"This training gives you the realism of being in the field
without the risks," Smithson said. "The movement and the IED
(Improvised Explosive Device) lanes we trained on gave us good
recognition of what we would face during a deployment."
Sgt. Terry L. DePew, an Army Reserve Soldier with the 412th
Engineer Company of Scranton, Pa., said the training was far different
than what he was used to as part of a tank crew.
"This training really opened my eyes," DePew said.
"I've never seen anything like this, and it's a lot more
fast-paced than what I've seen."
The communications and coordination between vehicles to deal
with any obstacles, such as IEDs, is good groundwork to train them how
to react to what they might face on the battlefield during a
deployment, he said. DePew said he would take the information back to
his unit, with the recommendation that other personnel attend the
Spc. James T. Parker, an Army Reserve Soldier with the 785th
Military Police Company of Michigan, said the VCOT and the IED lanes
at Fort McCoy were exceptional training and teaching tools.
"This was similar to what I saw when I was deployed, and
is very realistic," Parker said. "This training is a great
basis for someone who has no prior experience during a deployment - to
show personnel the various responsibilities involved."
Parker said he hoped there would be more access to this type of
training during the pre-mobilization training period for other