|Story and Photo by Tom Michele, Eagle Systems and
A small car pulls out from behind a building in the village on the
hillside just beyond the contingency operating location security
perimeter. A person with a rifle is in the vehicle. Shoot? Or don’t
Soldiers engage threats from a
guard tower next to a wall, which simulates a security perimeter
of a contingency operating location, at Fort McCoy’s Range 17.
A green vehicle drives out from another building on the hillside,
with no apparent threat. But the Soldiers manning the guard towers along
the 6-foot-high security wall have been alerted to a green vehicle
containing a vehicle-borne explosive device approaching the area. Shoot?
Or don’t shoot?
Then there are individual “people,” dummy targets that “pop up” from
several locations along the hillside and in windows of village
structures. Shoot? Don’t shoot? Are they armed?
These are the situations Soldiers are confronted with at Range 17.
Range 17 is a live-fire range along Burma Road on the west edge of the
Fort McCoy impact area.
Through the guidance of the 335th Training Support Battalion (TSB),
181st Infantry Brigade, the village, security wall perimeter with
towers, and moving targetry were constructed in recent months to provide
mission-specific mobilization training. The 181st conducts the
mobilization training at Fort McCoy.
Maj. Lawrence Sharp, 335th TSB operations officer, said because Soldiers
bound for duty in-theater need the essential skills to perform base
defense, Fort McCoy upgraded the scenario from a squad defense to a base
“In-theater this task is continuous with live ammunition,” Sharp said.
“There are always Soldiers in the guard towers. They need to be ready to
identify and react to any threat. So, we spend the time to train our
Soldiers for that critical moment.”
“There is nothing complex about this scenario on Range 17,” Sharp said.
“The fundamentals are hundreds of years old. We are training our
Soldiers to be vigilant and ready to accurately identify and
discriminate between civilians and legitimate threats so they can
destroy the threat with lethal force.”