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September 09, 2011

Training

ECS-67 supports WAREX equipment needs

Story & photo by Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff

Equipment Concentration Site (ECS)-67 staff members at Fort McCoy are ready to assist military personnel conducting training at the installation, including exercises such as the 2011 Warrior Exercise (WAREX), said Michael Dalsasso.

Dalsasso, ECS-67 manager, said the units conducting training or exercises, such as WAREX, benefit because they have the equipment and maintenance support they need to conduct their training in a timely manner. The units that come to the ECS to support the maintenance mission and ECS also are in a win-win situation.

PHOTO: Soldiers support Equipment Concentration Site-67 work to provide equipment to support Warrior Exercise. Photo by Rob Schuette
Soldiers from the 818th Maintenance Company of Fort Meade, Md., support Equipment Concentration Site-67 work to provide equipment to support Warrior Exercise 2011.

“The units that support the maintenance mission benefit because their Soldiers get hands-on experience conducting maintenance work,” Dalsasso said. “They also work alongside or partner with our staff, who have extensive maintenance experience, so they can benefit from our knowledge as well.”

ECS benefits from the training because the maintenance units provide additional personnel to support the exercise. Dalsasso said the maintenance units help ECS reduce any maintenance backlogs it has at that time.

The training also helps ECS create a pool for potential employees by identifying personnel who have the necessary skills and work ethic to make good, future ECS employees, he said. Personnel who work for ECS are dual-status military technicians.

Dalsasso said WAREX is just one of the exercises ECS supports with equipment and maintenance services. Others include the Combat Training Support Exercise (CSTX); Red Dragon, a homeland security exercise; and Essayons, an engineer exercise.

WAREX supports Year 3 of the Army Forces Generation cycle, while CSTX supports Year 4 of the cycle, he said.

“We support all the training organizations here, including the Regional Training Center-Central and the 181st Infantry Brigade with their equipment and/or maintenance requests or needs,” Dalsasso said. “We have much of the equipment on hand and can get it inspected, serviced and repaired to ensure it is ready for the exercises.”

Having the equipment at Fort McCoy allows units that are coming to Fort McCoy to avoid the costs — both from time and personnel perspectives — so they can come to the installation to train. He said ECS also does everything it can to get requested equipment for the exercises, such as up armored vehicles, to make the training as realistic as possible.

CSTX and WAREX are ramping up for additional cycles in the upcoming years. CSTX will have two cycles in fiscal year (FY) 2012, and both CSTX and the WAREX will have two cycles in FY 2013, he said. As the WAREX ended in late August, Dalsasso said the initial planning for the two CSTX exercises and a WAREX exercise for FY 2012 begins in September.

“The ECS work force goes above and beyond to meet the needs of the units training here,” Dalsasso said. “We provide a one-stop shop to ensure they get timely support and want to come to Fort McCoy for training, even if they’re not located in the area.” One unit involved in Essayons, for example, came all the way from Guam for that exercise, he added.

Staff Sgt. Harvey Battle, the platoon sergeant for group support and a generator mechanic with the 818th Maintenance Company, said members of the unit received a lot of training they hadn’t received before. The 818th is an Army Reserve unit from Fort Meade, Md., that supported WAREX.

“Some of the Soldiers we had here who are welders and machinists received maintenance training,” Battle said. “At home station, we might get to conduct two to three hours of maintenance during a weekend drill because of other requirements. Here, we can spend six to seven hours at a time so we get a lot more training.”

Spc. Ryan Fiabane, a welder for the 818th, said the mission gave him a chance to get cross-trained in the maintenance field.
Spc. Gabriel Nichols, a wheeled mechanic for the 818th who works as a military technician for ECS-86, said the training at Fort McCoy helped him learn the finer points, while helping his fellow Soldiers.

“They have good tools here,” he said. “The training is giving us good hands-on experience.”

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