Fort McCoy News April 11, 2014

WAREX: 'Super Bowl' for reserve-component Soldiers

BY SGT. JON SOLES
210th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

FORT MCCOY, Wis. — The stadium is set; the team takes the field, executing plays and focused on winning. But it's not a football game, it's a battlefield, the players are Soldiers and this is Warrior Exercise (WAREX) 86-14-02.

Photo for WAREX article
Soldiers participating in Warrior Exercise move in a convoy on Fort McCoy's
South Post area March 26.
Photo by Spc. Robert Farrell

More than 4,500 Soldiers, from across 30 states and Puerto Rico, with more than 60 participating units, which include engineer, quartermaster, medical, military police and human resources elements, are taking part in WAREX.

Brig. Gen. George Thompson, commander of the 86th Training Division who oversees the training, compares WAREX to the biggest football game of all. It is a chance for Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers to come together in one area in one exercise and train as they fight, so they are ready to complete any mission.

"This is our Super Bowl; this is the big game for us, and we are doing the best we can to win," Thompson said. "The commanders and senior noncommissioned officers are the quarterbacks for their teams, giving directions to their Soldiers who make victory possible."

The training grounds here have been converted and mapped out to resemble a fictitious nation in Southwest Asia.

Soldiers react to various scenarios ranging from rioting to route clearing, bridging operations, mass casualty exercises and many others.

The hubs of the training event are orders conducted through mission command, such as day and night convoy operations, detainee operations, host-nation engagement training, and base defense drills.

The Soldiers are training as if the war is real, along with the kinds of challenges that occur when a unit deploys.

"Soldiers are able to come here and actually get into a field training environment where they are able to do what the Army has trained them to do, adding realism, complexity and an increased operation tempo that forces them to react to changing situations like a real theater of operations," said Thompson, who oversees the 86th Training Division with exercise partners, the 75th

Training Command, and the Medical Readiness and Training Command, in WAREX.

The lessons learned during WAREX will help improve Soldiers' skill levels and give them greater confidence, so that if they are called to deploy, they will be able to perform their jobs at a higher level.