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December 09, 2011

News

CIF mission transforms to support all Soldiers training at McCoy

Story & photo by Tom Michele, Eagle Systems & Services

The Fort McCoy Central Issue Facility (CIF) mission to provide field gear to Soldiers has changed from support for Soldiers mobilizing at Fort McCoy to that of Soldiers training at the installation.

The CIF originally was created at Fort McCoy to serve the mobilization program. Now, the CIF has transformed its focus from serving mobilization Soldiers to serving the annual training, extended combat training, and Active Duty for Training weekend drills. This includes Soldiers coming to Fort McCoy for specific training courses, Soldiers attending the Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Soldiers participating in the annual Red Dragon, Diamond Saber, Global Medic, Patriot Exercise, Operation Essayons, Warrior Exercise, and the Combat Support Training Exercise exercises, and other special training developed by the Army.
PHOTO: Three Central Issue Facility employees inspect equipment and maintain record documentation. Photo by Tom Michele
Warehouse Specialist Gary Althoff replaces chin-straps on Army combat helmets while Warehouse Specialist Mike Antony inspects an outer tactical vest. Supply Technician Makensie Peterson maintains the record documentation. The three are employees at Fort McCoy’s Central Issue Facility.

CIF Property Book Officer Thomas Lovgren said the CIF also recently received authorization from the Central Management Office (CMO) to support the 88th Regional Support Command Reserve Soldiers in its geographical area with their entire Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment (OCIE) needs. OCIE includes Intermediate Cold Weather Boots, advanced combat helmet, body armor with plates, duffle bags, Modular Lightweight Load Carrying Equipment pack systems, and extreme cold weather systems — everything authorized by the Army active and reserve components.

“This means Soldiers can come to Fort McCoy’s CIF and get all of their OCIE issued to them directly on their clothing record and take the OCIE back home with them,” Lovgren said. “This is a huge deal for these Reserve Soldiers. Fort McCoy is the only USAR post in the country to receive this authorization from the CMO.”

The CIF also supports the ROTC for distribution of OCIE to the 3rd ROTC, which includes multiple states, and also supports Active-Army recruiters with OCIE in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.

“The days of unit supply sergeants having OCIE gear stocked at their supply rooms is gone,” Lovgren said. “They must go through their Army depots and, for Guard components, through their state CIFs.”

The CIF’s role at Fort McCoy is just like Fort McCoy providing excellent firing ranges, facilities, and training settings for Soldiers to train on, Lovgren said. The CIF handles everything from the initial issue for authorized active- and reserve-component Soldiers, and the direct exchange of unserviceable OCIE to temporary hand receipts to all units training at Fort McCoy to ensure they have all the equipment they need to meet their training objectives. The CIF is open from Thursday through Monday to support personnel training at Fort McCoy on weekends.

“If Soldiers do not have proper food, they cannot train,” he said. “If they do not have proper transportation, they cannot train. If they do not have proper weapons, ammunition and explosives, they cannot train. If Soldiers do not have proper OCIE, they cannot train. CIF fulfills the total package for Soldiers and units to train at Fort McCoy. The Army and its Soldiers are learning they will get fantastic training at Fort McCoy, with all of the support they need.”

Even with the changing mission, Lovgren said it is likely there will be nearly as many Soldiers receiving OCIE items from the CIF while training at Fort McCoy as there were during the installation’s mobilization-demobilization period. In the past, Soldiers coming to Fort McCoy for training routinely brought their required field gear with them, as it was issued at their home station.

“But sometimes Soldiers arrive at Fort McCoy for training courses such as the Noncommisioned Officer Academy without their required equipment, or it is damaged, worn, or unserviceable,” Lovgren said. “We make sure these Soldiers get the OCIE on a short-term basis so they can complete their training.”

Along with the safety issue of having proper equipment, there also is a morale issue, Lovgren said. Worn, torn, or improperly fitting OCIE can impair Soldiers’ ability to successfully accomplish their training.

“Training itself is absolutely critical to a Soldier’s career, and subsequently to the Soldier’s unit accomplishing their mission,” Lovgren said. “A Soldier training at Fort McCoy can bring in their unserviceable equipment and exchange it for proper equipment. That goes for the weekend-drill Soldier, special-schools Soldier and special-exercises Soldier.

“We care for the Soldier. That’s our mission,” Lovgren said. “And we are continuing the mission. Soldiers care that they are getting the proper support; the units care they are getting the proper support; and the Army cares that it is getting the proper support. It is a total win-win situation. It is all the more important for units choosing Fort McCoy for their training.”

Lovgren said the CIF temporarily issued 23,368 pieces of OCIE to non-mobilizing Soldiers training at Fort McCoy since January 2011, totaling about 3 million dollars in value. “In Fiscal Year 2011 we had 30,000 transactions.”

CIF’s future at Fort McCoy also includes a new multi-million dollar; 65,000-square-foot facility near the Troop Issue Subsistence Activity warehouse, building 490, and the Supply Support Activity large general purpose warehouse, building 495. The new CIF is scheduled to be constructed in 2013, with completion in 2014.

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