Fort McCoy News August 09, 2013

Marines conduct 3-week training session at McCoy

STORY & PHOTO BY ROB SCHUETTE
Public Affairs Staff

Marines from a communications unit trained on establishing a temporary forward operating base (FOB) and setting up communications as well as on various military skills during a three-week training session in late July at Fort McCoy.

Marine Wing Communications Squadron 48 of Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill., has the mission to provide expeditionary communications for the aviation combat element of a Marine Expeditionary Force.

Photo for Marines story
Marines with the Marine Wing Communication Squadron 48 of Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill., train in the forward operating base they constructed at Fort McCoy. The unit spent three weeks in July training at Fort McCoy setting up a communications area and performing Marine skills and tasks.

Master Gunnery Sgt. Douglas J. Wolf, the operations chief for Squadron 48, said in addition to establishing a temporary FOB the Marines also worked on tactical proficiencies and skills training.

The training included driving humvees and seven-ton vehicles, navigating an improvised explosive device lane and participating in confidence and obstacle course training.

"The facilities and people here provided outstanding support for our training," Wolf said.

Lt. Col. Michael Sheridan, the operations officer for Squadron 48, said the installation provided plenty of space for the unit to conduct its missions.

"We were able to set up as if we were in a real-world situation," Sheridan said. "This will give us something to build on."

Gunnery Sgt. Michael Post, who is in motor transportation for the unit, said Marines got a lot of on-road and off-road training with their seven-ton and humvee vehicles.

The unit trained on offloading tents, air-conditioning units for the communication equipment tents and other large equipment.

Sgt. Joshua Kelter, who works in communications maintenance for the unit, said the training gave his section a good opportunity to "put up and take down equipment."

Cpl. James Kosmala, also a communications maintenance worker for the unit, said the variety of terrains encountered was excellent to put up and fine tune communications equipment.

Capt. Leon Leck, communications platoon leader, said Fort McCoy's terrain, coupled with training at Hardwood Range at Volk Field, gave unit members a number of training opportunities.

"We had to learn to trouble shoot and pick our transmission sites," Leck said. "Because there weren't any built-up sites provided and we're not familiar with the area, we had to use all of our Marine skills to ensure we accomplished our mission. We had to improvise and overcome."

Capt. Christian Palmer, supply officer, said the training also was a good opportunity to provide experience to noncommissioned officers (NCOs) by putting them in charge so they could improve their leadership skills.

"This gives the NCOs a chance to gain experience and learn about factors, such as risk management, involved in the mission," Palmer said.

"This also builds depth, and, in case something happens, they are ready to be the next staff NCO on deck."

Sgt. Joseph Schank, unit armory chief, said training at Fort McCoy gave the unit members many opportunities to conduct vehicle training and weapons training missions.

"We also helped the Seabees (Naval Mobile Construction Battalion-25) clean their weapons and did some crew-served weapons cleaning and classes for them," Schank said.