Story & Photos by Tom Michele, Eagle Systems and Services
Several new tools in the U.S. Army’s arsenal that are used for
mobilization training at Fort McCoy now are visible throughout
These tools look different than the former tactical equipment in
use. One, the Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), is the only one of
its kind in the United States, said Sgt. 1st Class Scott
Ellsworth, master driver for the 411th Logistical Support
Battalion, 181st Infantry Brigade, said the 181st is conducting
training on these vehicles and equipment.
The 181st conducts the mobilization training at Fort McCoy. Some
previews of these vehicles have been documented in The Real
McCoy as they arrived on post, but they are now in operation.
“At Fort McCoy,” Ellsworth said, “units are able to train with
these vehicles. These items add new meaning to the term ‘clear
The largest new tool in McCoy’s fleet is the Buffalo, a
mine-interrogation vehicle used in convoy clearance missions,
according to Ellsworth.
Next are the Huskys, Ellsworth explained. “They are the latest
and greatest mine-detection platforms.” Three Huskys are issued
to route- clearance units for their training as part of a
route-clearance package. The fourth Husky is used as a platform
for the GPR.
“It is an honor to be the first Army trainer on this system,”
Ellsworth said. “It is imperative that the Husky system
operators realize they are the primary detectors of IED
Route Clearance Companies undergoing training at Fort McCoy also
have RG-31 mine-protected vehicles. “The RG-31 makes for a great
weapons and observation platform due to its large windows and
vehicle height,” Ellsworth said.
“Route clearance is a slow, tedious process,” Ellsworth said.
“Personnel must stay alert at all times while on mission. It’s
all business outside the security perimeter wire, especially for
the Husky operator, out in front of the convoy with only radio
chatter that connects him to the rest of the world. While on
mission, his whole world consists of the rest of the route
Soldiers drive a Husky
vehicle-mounted mine detector toward a suspicious pile of debris
during a route-clearance mission. A convoy of other vehicles,
including an RG-31 mine-protected vehicle, and a Buffalo
mine-protected vehicle, among other vehicles, follow. The
Soldiers from the 211th Engineer Company are mobilizing at Fort
McCoy to support Operation Enduring Freedom.