Fort McCoy News February 28, 2014

Guard teams train at McCoy prior to deployment

STORY & PHOTO BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

More than 60 Soldiers from the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team completed two weeks of pre-deployment training Feb. 4-15 at Fort McCoy prior to leaving for Southwest Asia to support Operation Enduring Freedom.

Photo for 32nd article
First Lt. Missy Winterfeldt (right) of the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team at Camp Douglas, Wis., leads medical training at Fort McCoy for more than 60 Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers who are deploying to Southwest Asia as the 32nd Military Engagement Team and the 32nd Base Defense Operations Center team.

The Soldiers, who will make up the 32nd Military Engagement Team (MET) and the 32nd Base Defense Operations Center (BDOC), are headquartered at Camp Douglas and Camp Williams.

The two teams began drilling in October 2013 at Camp Douglas and at Fort McCoy in preparation for their deployment training, said Lt. Col. Eric Beuerman, executive officer for the 32nd MET.

"The members of our BDOC team will augment positions with U.S. Army Central (ARCENT) in Southwest Asia," said Col. David Monk, commander for both teams. Monk previously deployed for operations Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom.

"In supporting those staff positions, they'll help keep (deployed) operations running in that part of the world."

According to Beuerman, the BDOC team will support ARCENT operations to enhance security, stability, force protection and camp operations.

While the MET will be working out of the same deployed base as the BDOC team, it also will be traveling to more than a dozen other countries in that region supporting operations.

"The MET's mission, by working through engagements with civil and military leaders, is about building enduring relationships with those other countries," Monk said.

Through those engagements, the MET "builds capacity, reinforces existing military-to-military relationships for mutually beneficially objectives, ensures access and reassures regional partnerships."

About half of the Soldiers are deployment veterans while the other half are going for the first time. During their training at Fort McCoy, the teams worked from the Wisconsin Military Academy facilities as well as other areas around post.

The units trained on Army Warrior Tasks prior to deployment. These included weapons qualification, driver training, combat lifesaver training, and specialized training such as language training, the Army Basic Instructor Course, and a seminar of instruction from The Leader Development and Education for Sustained Peace Program (LDESP).

The LDESP provides a cultural, regional and sociopolitical framework that sets the stage for leaders to understand, visualize, describe and assess the operational variables in regions and countries of interest.

"Fort McCoy is an exceptional location for us to train," Monk said. "The facilities here are unmatched by any in the area. There is a lot of room to train with multiple venues. When we come here we are taken care of, which means we are allowed to focus on our training and be prepared for our deployment."

First Lt. Missy Winterfeldt, who helped lead some of the medical training for the teams, agreed. "There are excellent facilities here," she said. "That makes a difference for all the training we've had to do while we were here."

Wisconsin Soldiers deploying in this capacity demonstrates the Army National Guard's commitment to the nation in many ways, said Wisconsin National Guard Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Shields, who, with Brig. Gen. Mark Anderson, Wisconsin National Guard commander, visited Fort McCoy to observe the training.

"The beauty of what we do, being in the National Guard, is we are able to ramp up and be ready to support operations whether it's stateside or overseas," Shields said. "In the National Guard, we are ready 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond if called upon. This deployment of Soldiers demonstrates that readiness and commitment.

Shields added on Fort McCoy being a special place for training opportunities.

"I've been coming to Fort McCoy for over 40 years," Shields said. "Fort McCoy has the facilities we need and the training sites we need to train our Soldiers. With the financial constraints we have in today's military environment, having Fort McCoy right here provides us with everything we need. Fort McCoy has developed over the last 10 years where we can bring anyone in here and they will have the resources they need to train."

For Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Geary, a La Crosse native who is deploying with the teams, the training he and the other Soldiers completed at Fort McCoy is imperative to their preparation.

"This training is always good muscle memory," Geary said. "It reinforces the basics, which we've been trained on before, and helps us to be ready. What we learn and practice can save a fellow Soldier's life, so we take it very seriously."
Geary also commented on being able to deploy with Soldiers from Wisconsin.

"I have deployed once before with my fellow Guard members," Geary said. "I'm very excited for this opportunity. It's an honor to deploy with such a great group of people."

The deploying Soldiers participated in a send-off ceremony Feb. 22 at Camp Douglas. The ceremony included comments from Wisconsin's lieutenant governor and the state adjutant general. Families and friends of the Soldiers also attended the ceremony.

Following the send-off ceremony, mobilization for the teams took place as they reported to North Fort Hood, Texas, Beuerman said. There, they received further training on war-fighting functions, force protection systems, emergency management and other types of learning.