By Tom Michele, The
Real McCoy Contributor
Soldier Computer Centers (SCC) at Fort McCoy are a big hit with
personnel from the 81st Heavy Brigade Combat Team (HBCT).
Sgt. Eric Zabala (left) helps
Sgt. Ryan Weisenburger work on a project at one of the Fort
McCoy Soldier Computer Centers. Next to them is Sgt. Gerhard
Schramm. All three Soldiers are from the 81st Heavy Combat
Brigade Team. (Photo by
swarmed to the centers on their off-duty hours while the 81st is at
McCoy as it mobilizes in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
am able to keep up with my e-mails and Army pay and to take care of
personal stuff by using the centerís computers," Pfc. Joshua
Peters said. Peters is with the 81stís B Troop, 303rd Cavalry.
"I get to my Army Knowledge Online (AKO) account and also my My
Pay Army financial records."
Thomas Suhr, H Troop, 303rd, said, "I definitely like the
computer center as I have access to pay my bills and communicate with
my family and friends. Itís great to have it available. I also use
the center for my Army learning classes and AKO correspondence courses
for earning promotion points."
center in building 2711 was opened in February 2003 and has 21
workstations. A new center was opened in building 2558 this August and
has 60 laptop computers available for use.
two centers are open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and are for
mobilization and demobilization Soldier use only.
Howard, an information technology specialist with the Directorate of
Information Management (DOIM), said, "As we look at the evolving
missions Fort McCoy carries, we still need to recognize that Soldiers
need a way to stay electronically connected, whether they are
deploying, redeploying, conducting pre-mob training or battle
how Soldiers communicate with their loved ones, pay bills, take
courses ó a very wide range of needs," Howard continued.
"So, regardless of the clientele, I can certainly see the need
for a facility that provides the Soldier with the capabilities of a
network-connected computer with printing, Web access, fax and copier
also said, "The first center (2711), was a joint effort with
Soldiers of the 6015th Garrison Support Unit here at the time and DOIM
staff. The second SCC is something I thought of earlier this year when
looking at the sheer numbers coming for the 81st HBCT. It was like one
of those moments Roy Scheider has in the movie ĎJawsí when he
says, ĎWeíre gonna need a bigger boat.í So we leveraged some
equipment assets and the fine folks on Debra Hytryís Team Eagle
Systems (civilian contractor) staff made it happen."
an information management supervisor, said, "Periodically, we
have received requests from units to block off a portion of computers
so they could rotate their Soldiers through to complete a
computer-based training course, such as drivers training. We gladly
did this in building 2711. Soldiers use the headphones so they are not
disruptive to the other customers. When we opened building 2558, we
placed six computers in each of two small offices specifically for
provided Soldier use of the centers, showing 3,470 Soldiers used
building 2711 in August and 4,144 Sept. 1-29. Average daily use is
127. Building 2558 figures are 1,071 personnel from Aug. 18-31 and
4,600 from Sept. 1-29, with a daily average of 132.
Tiffany Balcaitis, of A Troop, 303rd Cavalry, said use of the computer
center is important because, "I get to visit with my family and
friends and work on my Army online training course. I also get to stay
updated with national news. It is the easy way to stay in contact and
Joshua Kunkel, also of A Troop, said, "The center is an absolute
necessity. I take Army classes online, particularly right now a hazmat
session for my driving course. Itís also nice to have access for
Cynthia Schmitz, also of A Troop, said, "I like the center
because it is close to the barracks and I donít have to wait in line
for a computer. I like the quick access to the Internet."
Jeremy Rhodes, B Company, 184th Infantry, said about the center,
"Itís important so I can pay my house mortgage and be in
contact with my friends. I also read my hometown newspaper online and
sometimes print out articles from the paper. It works out pretty well
(Michele is a
public affairs specialist for Eagle Systems and Services Inc.,
contractor for CONUS Support Base Services.)