Fort McCoy News November 08, 2013

Infantry unit conducts weapons training

An infantry unit from River Falls, Wis., spent a busy weekend at Fort McCoy training and qualifying with weapons.

Soldiers from Delta Company, 1st, 128th Infantry, a Wisconsin National Guard unit, compressed two weekends of training into one to accomplish their mission, said Capt. Chris Voelker, unit commander. The unit's available training time was affected by budget reductions, he added.

Photo for infantry article
Soldiers from the 1st, 128th Infantry of River Falls, Wis., conduct weapons training at Fort McCoy to meet the requirements under the Army Force Generation cycle. Unit members also conducted training during the eXportable Combat Training Capability exercise held here in July.
Photo by Rob Schuette

"We stayed out in the field to maximize our training time here," Voelker said. "That reduced our travel time (if we would have stayed in the cantonment area.)"

Unit members fired the M4, M320, M240, M249, shotgun, M9 pistol and Anti-Tank 4 weapons as part of both day and night training, he said.

That helped the unit achieve the necessary state of readiness to meet its required certification in the Army Force Generation training cycle.

Sgt. 1st Class Wyatt Anderson, a platoon leader for the unit, said unit members convoyed to Fort McCoy the Thursday night before training began — about a four-hour trip — before arriving at 11 p.m. and settling in about 12:30 a.m. for an overnight in the field.

"We began training the next morning at 5 a.m. and hit the ranges as soon as possible," Anderson said. "We spent Friday and Saturday training before leaving Sunday morning for the return trip back to River Falls."

Anderson said the unit held pre-mission checks at home station to ensure everyone had the proper equipment and clothing to spend the nights in the field, where the overnight temperatures dipped into the 20-degree range.

The unit often comes to Fort McCoy for training and had completed a three-week eXportable Combat Training Capability (eXCTC) exercise in July, he said. The eXCTC validated Soldiers' proficiency in their job positions and skills.

Sgt. Brandon Swanson of the unit, who had won the 2011 Wisconsin National Guard and regional National Guard Best Warrior competitions, said he used the previous training the unit conducted at Fort McCoy to prepare for the competition. Swanson also competed at the Army National Guard national-level Best Warrior contest.

"I used the land navigation and weapons training that we can do here, and I can't do at home station, to help prepare for the competition," he said. "I've shared the knowledge from that competition with other unit members. We also have two unit members getting ready to compete in the Best Warrior competition this year so I'll help them get ready."