Fort McCoy News October 24, 2014

Fiscal year 2014 training numbers surpass 145,000

STORY & PHOTO BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

More than 145,000 personnel trained at Fort McCoy in fiscal year (FY) 2014 — an increase of more than 20,000 from FY 2013.
The training statistics, which are tracked by the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS), reflect a continuous increase in the variety of training opportunities used by Army Reserve, National Guard and active-duty military units, said DPTMS' Training Division Chief Ed Carns.

Photo for training numbers article
Soldiers with the 79th Military Police Company from Wabasha, Minn., prepare for a convoy as part of operations for the Guardian Warrior exercise in June at Fort McCoy's Forward Operating Base Liberty.

"The increase is due to an increase in the Army Reserve and the National Guard exercises as well as increases in the annual training, or extended combat training (ECT), numbers. Battle drill training, or weekend training, numbers stayed consistent to previous years," Carns said.

The ECT numbers for FY 2014 show 96,388 service members trained at Fort McCoy. Battle drill totals were 48,783.

One of installation's strategic objectives is to maintain and expand Fort McCoy's military training customer base. Carns said the training increase reflects success in that objective.

"The increase in numbers every year is one of our goals, and we've achieved that this year," Carns said. "As folks come here to train and see what we have, the word gets out and more want to come. This is also because of our efforts to get the word out.

In addition to word of mouth, we have made a concerted effort to let the Army know what our capabilities are and that we can meet training needs that might not be met at other installations."

Some of the largest exercises ever to take place on the installation occurred in 2014. For example, more than 4,500 Soldiers from more than 60 units from across the U.S. participated in Warrior Exercise 2014 in March and April. Similarly, the Combat Support Training Exercise in April and May brought an additional 7,000 troops to Fort McCoy for training.

Other exercises contributing to the steady increase in training numbers included Essayons (Army combat engineers), Red Dragon (Homeland Security missions), Exportable Combat Training Capability training, and the first Guardian Warrior exercise (military police).

"There's a lot more (training opportunities) that we haven't even touched (at Fort McCoy), so there's a good chance we'll be back again," said Lt. Col. Charles "Chip" Seifert, commander of the 317th Military Police Battalion of Tampa. Fla., which coordinated Guardian Warrior at Fort McCoy.

The increase in training also places greater demand on the resources available, such as training ranges. Range Scheduling Supervisor Mark Stelzner of the DPTMS Range Management Branch said they've stayed as busy as ever in the past year managing the range scheduling process as well as range maintenance and planning.

"We met all the challenges," Stelzner said. "It takes a little time to work through it all, but we met the demand through working closely with units to get them the support they needed."

Stelzner said it's meant asking units very specific questions, following the schedule closely and ensuring effective use of assets.
"It also meant range maintenance making sure ranges were ready for the next group," Stelzner said. "It's a team effort all the way around."

Continued success in Fort McCoy's training support mission relies on a strong and supportive workforce all across post, Carns said.

"When folks come here and train, we can tell them how good we are and we can show them everything we have, but you have to deliver," Carns said. "This increase (in training numbers) is a direct result of our ability to deliver on what we promise. That's a direct result of the quality of workforce we have, and their dedication to support the troops."

Stelzner agreed. "You have to have a solid workforce that steps up to the plate," he said. "We have that here at Fort McCoy."

For more information about Fort McCoy training objectives, call the DPTMS Training Division at 608-388-5038. For more information about range scheduling and management, call 608-388-4629.