Fort McCoy News April 12, 2013

Engineer unit conducts pre-mobilization training

STORY & PHOTO BY ROB SCHUETTE
Public Affairs Staff

Engineers preparing to deploy spent nearly three weeks at Fort McCoy using the installation's tactical facilities and training ranges to hone their Soldier skills.

1st Lt. Zachary Holm, a platoon leader for the 372nd Engineer Company, an Army Reserve unit from Pewaukee, Wis., said the unit conducted training at Fort McCoy because it was the nearest Army installation that had everything it needed to conduct pre-mobilization training.

Photo for pre-mobilization training article
A Soldier with the 372nd Engineer Company fires an M4 weapon from a kneeling position during weapons training at a Fort McCoy range.

Unit members will complete their mobilization training at Fort Bliss, Texas, later this year before deploying to support Operation Enduring Freedom.

"We are firing all the weapons — crew and individual — in our modified table of organization and equipment and developing a team and unit cohesion as we prepare for mobilization," Holm said. "The training is geared toward accomplishing Soldier warrior tasks."

The training includes weapons familiarization and qualification with pistols, machine guns, and rifles, such as the M4. Holm said

Soldiers also conducted hand-grenade and anti-tank training tasks.

Soldiers lived at a Forward Operating Base (FOB) to prepare for that aspect of the mission, he said. Entry-control point and guard-duty training also was conducted.

Capt. Andrew Reichert, company commander, said the experience of living in a FOB at Fort McCoy helped prepare unit members for the environment the unit will encounter during deployment.

The unit conducts vertical operations, such as constructing buildings.

Staff Sgt. Hector Claudio, a squad leader with the 1st platoon of the 372nd, said the training experience at Fort McCoy will help unit members prepare for their overseas mission.

"The training will help ensure everybody feels comfortable doing what we do," Claudio said. "We'll go through every piece of equipment and ensure they know everything by heart so they can do everything needed to accomplish the mission by reflex."

During the training, different stressors were incorporated to help ensure unit members are prepared to handle that aspect of the mission, as well, he said.

"That will help them adapt to any situation we might face when we're deployed," he said. "We can learn each other's strengths and weaknesses."

"The NCOs (noncommissioned officers) also can learn by sharing experiences with other NCOs in the unit," he added.

Spc. Michael Maxwell, a carpenter/mason for the 372nd, said training at the installation allowed unit members to become more proficient with the weapons and to hone the skills necessary to accomplish their deployment mission.