|Fort McCoy has all the pieces in place to support eight
major exercises that will highlight training this summer.
Capt. Jim Lavelle, a plans officer with the Fort McCoy Directorate of
Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS) Office of Training
Coordination, said the preplanning has been completed and the units
participating in the exercises are ready to train. The units coming here
to train can use some of the best ranges and training areas in the Army,
Soldiers from the 208th
Transportation Company of Tucson, Ariz., put on a demonstration
of a palletized loading system during the 2011 Combat Support
Training Exercise. The exercise presented realistic and
challenging scenario-based training for Soldiers and units
preparing for deployment.
Support and cooperation throughout the installation, including work
force support, is the key to conducting successful exercises, he said.
“Everyone works together to help ensure the exercises are successful,”
The exercises can require quick support or response.
“Everyone here is eager to help them,” Lavelle said. “The units tell us
they hear ‘no’ all the time when they make training requests or ask to
do something at other installations. At Fort McCoy, the people say
‘here’s the challenge and here’s what we can do and how you can meet
your training requirements.’ They can still accomplish their missions.”
Units involved in exercises are encouraged to send representatives to
any conferences held at Fort McCoy regarding the exercises they will
participate in, Lavelle said. Units can coordinate needs with Fort McCoy
staff and become aware of the capabilities of the training facilities
available at the installation.
Lavelle said successful exercises depend on support from organizations
both on and off the installation.
An example is Fort McCoy’s cooperative agreement with Volk Field. During
the Patriot Exercise in July, units will train at both Fort McCoy and
Volk Field. The Patriot Exercise also will include cooperative training
with the first Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX). The first CSTX
will be coordinated by the 78th Training Division of U.S. Army Support
Activity, Fort Dix, N.J.
Patriot Exercise equipment will be shipped to the Minneapolis/St. Paul
International Airport. Personnel participating in the CSTX at Fort McCoy
will pick up the equipment and transport it from there to Fort McCoy as
part of their real-world and real-time training. Lavelle said the
training will include moving the equipment across state lines, moving
non-standard loads and correctly completing all the procedures and
paperwork. In addition to the training benefits, the Patriot Exercise
avoids the commercial costs of transporting the equipment from
Minneapolis to Fort McCoy.
Geographically distant units participating in training at Fort McCoy
also can take advantage of pre-positioned equipment. Lavelle said in the
case of the Army Reserve this encompasses receipting equipment from the
Equipment Concentration Site-67 for use and turning it in in an approved
condition to be used by the next unit.
The CSTX exercises and the Warrior Exercise (WAREX) to be held at Fort
McCoy will include observer-controller (OC) and opposing forces support
from two experienced units.
The 181st Infantry Brigade at Fort McCoy will provide OC support for the
CSTX. The OCs will be trained at the 86th Training Division Academy. The
86th supports and coordinates the CSTX and WAREX.
Fort McCoy also offers units the advantage of training areas, such as
forward operating bases and the home station training lanes, Lavelle
Support also includes the use of Fort McCoy’s training simulation
facilities, such as the Engagement Skills Trainer, the Reconfigurable
Vehicle Tactical Trainer and the Virtual Battlefield 2 Trainer.
Simulations save the units time and money, Lavelle said.
Whenever possible, units training at Fort McCoy that can bring unique
skills to the exercises are encouraged to coordinate their training with
units involved in the exercises. A success story in 2011 was the 67th
Troop Command of Iowa providing helicopter support for
medical-evacuation training during WAREX.
“If it allows units to execute their training plans, we encourage
cooperative training,” Lavelle said. “We’ve had several successes.”
Another area that has seen a lot of success is the Troop Project
Lavelle said engineer units involved in such training as the engineer
exercise Essayons can conduct various projects to support the
installation during their training.
The units don’t necessarily have to complete a project, but their skills
can be used to further a project’s completion — giving them good
hands-on training, while saving the installation money.
The training opportunities and support has encouraged the units to
return for the exercises year after year, and the exercises also are
reporting growth. Lavelle said this includes holding two CSTX and one
WAREX exercises this year and increasing to two CSTX and two WAREX
exercises in 2013. The second CSTX exercise for 2012 is being
coordinated by the 86th Training Division.