|(Editor’s note: “SPOTLIGHT” is a continuing series
about tenant activities and missions at Fort McCoy.)
What is it?
The 181st Infantry Brigade (INF Bde) is comprised of active- and
reserve-component Soldiers and serves as the trainers for military
exercises and mobilization training. The brigade is one of nine training
brigades subordinate to First Army Division West, headquartered at Fort
The 779th Engineer Battalion’s 2nd Platoon of Florida protects
an entry-control point during Warrior Exercise training in June.
Observer-Controller Trainers from the 181st Infantry Brigade at
Fort McCoy supported the exercise, which presented realistic and
challenging scenario-based training for more than 4,000 Soldiers
and their units preparing for deployment.
Prior to being reflagged Dec. 1, 2006 as the 181st INF Bde, First
Army Division West, the unit was known as the 2nd Brigade, 85th Division
Eagle Brigade. The brigade has been a tenant activity at Fort McCoy
since October 1993.
The 181st has command and control over two active-component and four
reserve-component units located at Fort Snelling, Minn., Fort Sheridan,
Ill., and Fort McCoy.
The 181st INF Bde trains Army Reserve and National Guard units in
support of the Army Force Generation process, principally the Train and
Ready phases for operational deployment.
This Contingency Expeditionary Force (Apportioned Forces) training
focuses on leader and collective skills.
Although Fort McCoy does not have a current mobilization mission, the
181st continues to support mobilization training as mobile trainers at
mobilization training centers throughout First Army.
The Brigade currently has personnel in Afghanistan serving as Security
Forces Assistance Teams (SFATs) that train Afghan National Security
units to conduct security operations. Another 181st INF Bde SFAT team
will train for three months at Fort Hood, Texas, and then at Fort Polk,
La., preparing for deployment to Afghanistan within the next year.
The team will spend up to nine months overseas.
What have they done?
Within the last eight months, the 181st INF Bde completed three
Exportable Combat Training Center (xCTC) exercises; two exercises were
conducted at Camp Blanding, Fla., and one at Camp Ripley, Minn.,
supporting the 48th INF Bde of the Georgia National Guard.
The 181st INF Bde also supplied Observer Controllers to support two
Combat Support Training Exercises (CSTX) and one Warrior Exercise (WAREX)
at Fort McCoy in support of the 78th Training Division (TD) based out of
Fort Dix, N.J.
During these exercises, the 181st INF Bde evaluated the training of
nearly 8,700 Soldiers.
What do they have planned?
The 181st INF Bde’s training is set until fiscal year 2014.
The brigade will conduct a WAREX with the 78th TD at Fort McCoy in May
2013; two xCTCs in June supporting two National Guard units in Idaho; an
xCTC with the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Wisconsin National
Guard at Fort McCoy; a WAREX and a CSTX supporting the 86th TD during
July and August at Fort McCoy; and support of the 48th INF Bde in
September at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, Calif.
The training cycle will begin again in March 2014 with the same types of
Why are they important?
The 181st INF Bde provides a resident-expert capability to units that
train at Fort McCoy. Its participation in the training exercises
determines the unit readiness of Guard and reserve-component forces.
This training is a valuable tool because it decreases the time deploying
units normally would spend at mobilization stations.
Upon completion of the SFATs mission in Afghanistan, future training
exercises will be improved through their experiences, by leveraging
experiences in country. The training is based on current conditions and
will better prepare the units for future deployments.
For more information about the 181st INF Bde, call 608-388-3344 (no
voicemail or answering service) or visit their Facebook page