[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                    August 22, 2008
Mobilization

COB improvements to replicate real-world deployment environments

By Tom Michele, The Real McCoy Contributor

Twelve security guard towers were put in place in late July, and concertina wire was added in August in the 2400 through 2800 blocks of the Fort McCoy cantonment area. That is most of the "west" leg of the fortís "triad" configuration of barracks, administration buildings and dining facilities.

Photo: Soldiers from the 181st Infantry Brigade install a concertina wire at Contingency Operating Base McGinnis at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Tom Michele)
Soldiers from the 181st Infantry Brigade install a concertina wire at Contingency Operating Base McGinnis at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Tom Michele)  

The added security atmosphere was prepared to be in place in time for the scheduled arrival of many elements of the 81st Brigade Combat Team from the Washington Army National Guard, which is mobilizing for deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Walter Rakow, chief, operations, for the 181st Infantry Brigade, said, "The guard towers and concertina wire, with entry control points included, are being erected to represent and replicate what is at contingency operating bases (COBs) in-theater overseas." The 181st, with its four training support battalions, conducts the mobilization training effort at Fort McCoy.

Rakow explained that this in contrast to contingency operating locations (COLs). COBs usually have hardened buildings, trailers or fixed facilities while COLs are more of a tent city.

"We are creating an environment for a large unit, for their battle space, for their footprint," Rakow said. "They will be occupying significant pieces of ground. The 81st will be manning the towers and entry control points at most times and according to the perceived threat levels. There may be times the towers and checkpoints will be manned, other times when they wonít."

Photo: A new guard tower stands in place in Contingency Operating Base (COB) McGinnis at Fort McCoy. It is one of 12 towers recently constructed to support COBs McGinnis, Smith and Justice. (Photo by Tom Michele)
A new guard tower stands in place in Contingency Operating Base (COB) McGinnis at Fort McCoy. It is one of 12 towers recently constructed to support COBs McGinnis, Smith and Justice. (Photo by Tom Michele)

The new COB plan will have three COBs established in the stretch from just inside the 2400 block to just inside the 2800 block.

COB Smith will include 56 buildings in the 2400-2500 block. COB Justice will include 39 buildings in the 2600 block.

COB McGinnis will include 22 buildings plus building 2776, which is usually used for a training unitís brigade level headquarters.

There will be restricted access on the side streets in the COBs.

The names of two of the COBs come from two Soldiers killed in action and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Sgt. 1st Class Paul Smith died April 4, 2003 during an attack on his unit near the Baghdad Airport and the initial take over of the airfield.

Pfc. Ross McGinnis was killed while on patrol in Bagdad Dec. 4, 2006 when he laid on top of a hand grenade thrown into the truck he was in. His action saved the lives of the other four Soldiers in the vehicle.

"We named the COBs in respect for their actions and sacrifice and to remind people of their heroism," Rakow said.

The guard towers were constructed by 10 employees of the Directorate of Emergency Services (DES)/Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS), according to Don Lemerand, a supervisor at the DES/DPTMS Range Section.

"It took our employees about two weeks to build them from scratch and use a forklift truck to place them on the sites at the COBs," Lemerand said.

(Michele is a public affairs specialist for Eagle Systems and Services Inc., contractor for CONUS Support Base Services.)

 

[ Top of Page ]

[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]