Fort McCoy News September 26, 2014

Tour Program tailors activities to meet visitor needs

BY THERESA R. FITZGERALD
Public Affairs Staff

Fort McCoy's tour program is part of the installation's Community Relations and Community Outreach efforts. Fort McCoy's Public Affairs Office (PAO) manages the tour program, which is designed to educate and increase public awareness of Fort McCoy's mission and programs, and to build and maintain positive relationships with surrounding communities.

Photo for tour article
Members of a tour group walk through the Fort McCoy Commemorative Area
during a recent tour. The area includes the History Center, five World War
II-era buildings, the Equipment Park and Veterans Memorial Plaza.

Photos by Geneve N. Mankel

Each year, PAO supports more than 100 tours. Tours are available Monday through Friday, are free and open to the public for groups of 15 or more. Schools, church and civic groups, military units, and motor coach bus tours are just a few examples of organizations that have participated in tours. Groups as big as 240 people have been accommodated.

Tours of Fort McCoy's award-winning Commemorative Area include the History Center (currently closed for renovation, reopening summer 2015), five World War II-era buildings, the Equipment Park and Veterans Memorial Plaza.

Guided, narrated tours of Fort McCoy's cantonment area also can be arranged. Groups arriving by bus or motor coach are met by a PAO representative at the Main Gate. The guide boards the bus and stays with the group throughout their time on the installation.

Groups needing bus transportation can contact PAO to determine whether the installation may be able to provide a bus.

Tours can be coordinated in many combinations. For example, groups could tour the Commemorative Area only, or have a guided bus tour and lunch, etc.

Tour groups can request a stop for lunch at the buffet at McCoy's Community Club.

Photo 2 for tour article
Fort McCoy visitors spend time at Veterans Memorial Plaza in the Comme-
morative Area.

PAO will coordinate all details with McCoy's (date, time, costs and approximate number of guests expected to dine) on behalf of the group.

Groups of fewer than 15 people can take advantage of a self-guided driving tour brochure. This tour outlines a prescribed route on an included map and incorporates text and photographs to explain the many facets of life at the installation.

Visitors may take the self-guided driving tour between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily throughout the year. Brochures are available at the Main Gate.

Feedback from tour participants has been very positive, said Fort McCoy Public Affairs Officer Linda M. Fournier. "People are amazed to learn about the scope of activities that occur on the installation," said Fournier.

Andy Pisney, food program manager/contracting office representative for the Logistics Readiness Center, frequently schedules tours of the Commemorative Area's World War II dining facility for food service personnel training at the installation.

"Having been in Army Food Service for the past 28 years, I like to show fellow food service professionals their heritage and what it was like to be a cook back during World War II. There is a lot of Army Food Service history here," Pisney said.

"The tour is an opportunity to tell the Soldiers all the great things we do here, what Fort McCoy is all about and our proud history of support from 1909 to the present," said Pisney. "I am proud to work at Fort McCoy."

The Armed Forces Day Open House every May also is a good time to visit Fort McCoy for a tour because no appointment is necessary. Commemorative Area buildings are open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and bus tours are scheduled throughout the day from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

To get more information, schedule a tour or inquire about brochures, contact the Fort McCoy PAO at 608-388-2407, or send an email to usarmy.mccoy.imcom-central.list.pao-admin@mail.mil.