Fort McCoy News April 25, 2014

Army brings Total Force concept WAREX

STORY & PHOTO BY SGT. 1ST CLASS ANTHONY TAYLOR
85th Support Command

FORT MCCOY, Wis. — The 86th Training Division, based at Fort McCoy, Wis., with the 84th Training Command, Fort Knox, Ky.; partnered up with the 75th Training Command, Houston, Texas; the Medical Readiness & Training Command, San Antonio, Texas; and First Army, Rock Island, Ill.; and First Army, Division-West, Fort Hood, Texas; launched this year's Warrior Exercise (WAREX) 86-14-02 here March 25.

Photo for WAREX article
Capt. Joseph Garcia, right, 3rd Battalion, 335th Combat Sustainment Support
Regiment, 181st Infantry Brigade; speaks with exercise participants assigned
on the main entry point at the mock Forward Operating Base, Fort McCoy, Wis.,
during Warrior Exercise 86-14-02.

The WAREX training (conducted through April 11) provided an environment for Soldiers to practice functional capabilities in a Combat Training Center-like environment, according to Brig. Gen. George Thompson, Commanding General, 86th Training Division. Thompson further shared end goals for the estimated 5,000 Soldiers participating in the exercise.

"At the end of this exercise, every Soldier on the ground will have learned new things and will have increased their functional capabilities," said Thompson. "If they (Soldiers) were mobilized to go perform a mission into the ready pool, they would be able to perform their mission to the maximum extent and come home safely."

The 181st Infantry Brigade, First Army Division-West, located at Fort McCoy, typically supports Army Reserve exercises such as WAREX and Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX) in addition to National Guard exercises. Support includes working with platoon and company-level units to meet commander's training objectives of functional training in a tactical environment.

"We work with the OPFOR (Opposing Force) and embedded observer-controller/trainers to provide the right training environment to allow (unit commanders) to meet their training objectives," said Col. Shawn Klawuder, 181st Infantry Brigade commander.

Lt. Col. Troy Anhalt, battalion commander of the 1st Battalion, 338th Combat Sustainment Support Regiment, 181st Infantry Brigade; explained that his unit, the "Badger" battalion, had three significant roles in this exercise. The first was coordination with the OPFOR for the entire exercise; the second was to ensure operation of the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES) equipment on Soldiers and vehicles to enhance training value; and the third role was for Military Occupational Specialty-specific observer-controller/trainers to support the requirements of their other battalions.

"We now have a lot more direct coordination between OPFOR observer-controller/trainers and the observer-controller/trainers that are in the battalions, embedded with the training audience units," said Anhalt. "So that direct coordination can tailor all of the OPFOR injects (scenarios during training), and the mission to the specific needs of that training audience so that they get the best training value from that exercise."

During the initial days of the exercise, Brig. Gen. Gracus K. Dunn, deputy-commanding general for support of First Army, Division-West, visited the WAREX training sites to learn the roles and responsibilities of the supporting units on the ground there.

The 85th Support Command, a Chicago-based unit under Dunn's dual-role command responsibilities, provided personnel in support of the 75th Training Command's Great Lakes Division G6/Information Technology team across an eight-week period there.

"They (75th TC) have chiefs and junior Soldiers, but were short of senior noncommissioned officers and officers," said Col. David Torgerson, 85th Support Command G6/Information Technology section chief. "The 85th Support Command is providing our signal officers, and senior noncommissioned officers, and spreading them across (in support of the training). For us, it gives our older signal officers a look at the new technology.

"It's been a great opportunity for our signal officers," Torgerson said. "I hope we get to do it every year."