By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff
Engineer personnel spent a busy three-week extended combat
training tour at Fort McCoy completing Installation Related
Construction (IRC) projects that will benefit military personnel
training at Fort McCoy for years to come.
III, the Troop Projects coordinator for Fort McCoy, said the
three-week Castle IRC included engineer construction projects
throughout the post. Perzel works for VT Griffin, which is contracted
to provide Directorate of Public Works services.
Engineer Soldiers work on the
foundation for a classroom/administrative facility at Young Air
Assault Strip. (Photo by
This IRC kicks
off the busiest Troop Projects season in the past six years, Perzel
said. Engineer personnel also will do Troop Projects construction
during the Patriot Warrior Exercise.
"The Castle IRC focuses on Soldiers working on their
technical engineering skills, and they will focus on doing
construction," Perzel said. Castle was chosen as the name of the
exercise because a turreted castle is the distinctive symbol of the
Army Corps of Engineers.
"During Patriot Warrior, Soldiers will
focus a lot more on tactical skills while still using their technical
skills," Perzel said.
Projects under way at the Young Air Assault Strip, a
semi-improved facility that can handle the C-17A aircraft, are a new
observation tower, a classroom/administrative facility and road
improvement for the facility.
Sgt. Scott LaRock, a member of the 113th Facilities Engineer
Detachment of Milwaukee, helped oversee the construction of the
concrete base for the classroom/administrative facility. Among the
units involved were the 364th and 309th Concrete Detachments of New
"This is good training for them," LaRock said.
"This is what they would be doing when they go overseas or are
Engineer personnel build an
Automatic Building Machine structure on Range 26 at Fort McCoy.
(Photo by Rob Schuette)
Perzel said the improvements will make Young Air Assault Strip
a better training facility for military personnel coming to Fort McCoy
and hopefully attract more training to the installation.
Not far from Young Air Assault Strip, members of the 340th
Engineer Company of New Kensington, Pa., were constructing a traffic
circle and widening a road.
This will allow troops training at Fort McCoy to practice more
training tasks such as conducting Improvised Explosive Devices
training. Perzel said it also will provide valuable convoy training
because there are an increasing number of traffic circles to navigate
during convoy travel in-theater overseas.
2nd Lt. Ryan Kessler, the 1st Platoon leader for the 340th,
said his unit had just transitioned from combat engineers to
Much of the equipment being used for these projects was new to
"It's a good incentive to be able to do a project like
this that helps prepare units to go to theater," Kessler said.
"We know what that's like since we were deployed from December
2003 to March 2005."
Keith Twing, a senior technical support specialist from M.I.C.
Industries of Reston, Va., came to Fort McCoy to provide troops with
instruction in construction of an Automatic Building Machine (ABM)
"The structures are very similar to the buildings
constructed in the civilian world, although this isn't the most
advanced technology we have," Twing said. "These structures
have been used for barracks at Fort Dix, N.J., Fort Hunter Liggett,
Calif., and Twentynine Palms, a Marine base in California."
The newest technology, the Ultimate Building Machine, has been
used worldwide by the military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The ABM buildings have proved to be very structurally sound,
have an extended life span and are very inexpensive to build, with a
cost of about $5-$6 a square foot, Twing said.
Sgt. 1st Class Michael White, the noncommissioned
officer-in-charge of the 604th Engineers of Greenwood, Miss., said the
group was building an ABM storage facility on Range 26. Several
Pennsylvania engineer units were doing the work.
"It's going up quickly, and it's good training to develop
camaraderie and to help support the installation's training,"
White said. "It's great because our unit is being transitioned
from combat engineers to horizontal construction."
The troops appreciated seeing the finished project. White and
Twing noted the pace seemed to pick up as the project neared its end.
The facility not only will provide good storage for such items
as targeting, but it will provide an inclement weather alternative to
conduct warrior task training for troops that use the range, White
Another ABM is scheduled to be constructed on Range 41 during
the Patriot Warrior exercise next month.
The other projects being worked on include a berm and Southwest
Asia-type hut to support training on Contingency Operating Location
Freedom (formerly known as Forward Operating Base Freedom), placing
gravel and widening several roads to support training, and
constructing portable storage sheds.
The units participating in the three-week exercise are the
391st Engineer Battalion, Greenville, S.C.; 604th Engineer Company,
Greenwood, Miss.; 364th Concrete Detachment, Penn Yan, N.Y.; 309th
Concrete Detachment, Penn Yan, N.Y.; the 352nd Engineer Company (Dump
Truck), Yoakum, Texas; the 358th Engineer Company (Vertical),
Schukillhaven, Pa.; the 718th Engineer Company (Heavy), Fort Benning,
Ga.; the 340th Engineer Company (Heavy), New Kensington, Pa.; the
357th Engineer Company (Support), Asheville, N.C.; the 458th Engineer
Battalion, Johnstown, Pa.: and the 113th Facilities Engineer