Fort McCoy News November 14, 2014

Range complex upgrades improve training at McCoy

STORY & PHOTO BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Fort McCoy's range complex continues to improve thanks to current and planned improvement projects, according to Range Officer Mike Todd of the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS) Range Management Branch.

"We have quite a bit of work going on all over post," Todd said. "We are continually working to create something that best serves our primary customers, which includes the Army Reserve and National Guard."

Photo for range upgrades article
A construction crew completes work on a forward-arming and refueling point near Young Air Assault Strip on Fort McCoy's South Post.

The upgrades are taking place at a strong pace. A new Subway Training Facility (STF) is being added at the Combined Arms Collective Training Facility (CACTF), and a new forward-arming and refueling point (FARP) added near the Young Air Assault Strip (YAAS) on South Post.

"Work on the (STF) began last year, and now it can be used for training," Todd said. "It still has to be connected to the main power grid, but a generator can be set up so training can take place there. It's a nice addition to the CACTF."

Todd said the new FARP will add a capability for Army helicopter units not previously available on South Post. This allows for the placing of armaments on a helicopter as well as quicker refueling during continuous training operations.

Work also is taking place at the Enemy Prisoner of War (EPW) 2 training area on South Post.

"New EPW 2 structures will support a military police exercise called Guardian Justice, which will occur next summer," Todd said.

"We (worked) with planners from the 200th Military Police Command (MPC) to determine the requirements necessary to support this exercise that includes detention operations. The structures in EPW 2 will provide the training platform for the 200th MPC to achieve the training objectives for that exercise."

Range improvement projects align with Fort McCoy's strategic objectives, including to continually modernize the installation's infrastructure, and to enhance its military value through improved training area utilization and land-use initiatives.

"Our range improvement planning also is developed closely with requirements that can be found in the (Army) Training Circular (TC) 25-8," Todd said. "This circular provides guidance for developing and operating Army ranges."

TC 25-8 also is a working guide for trainers, range planners, engineers, coordinators and mandated range project review boards at all levels of the Army. It's the primary guide for installation and major Army command range development plans and for developing the Army Master Range Plan.

Todd said requirements in TC 25-8 have led to other projects as well, such as building a trench on Range 29, construction of an entry-control point at Range 4 and target and infrastructure improvements at Ranges 2, 6 and 18.

"We are making these upgrades as closely as we can to the circular to meet training needs," Todd said. "There are supposed to be different types of features found on ranges, such as the trench on Range 29, that give these areas multi-purpose capabilities.

Our improvements also will allow for more varied types of training that are available now only at certain other installations."

During fiscal year 2014, more than 145,000 people used Fort McCoy and its more than 46,000 acres of training space. The total was the highest in several years, and the increased demand means more multi-purpose capabilities for ranges are part of future planning.

One possible future project to add multi-purpose capability is to build a bridge over the La Crosse River near Range 2 to connect ranges on North Post.

"The project is only in the planning stages, but it would connect Ranges 2, 4, 6 and 29 to create an extended combat live-fire training capability in that area that would be beneficial for some units," Todd said.

Range improvement projects will continue into 2015, some as part of the Fort McCoy Troop Projects Program, Todd said.
Troops are noticing Fort McCoy's increased capabilities.

"Fort McCoy is great as a training area," said Sgt. 1st Class Robert Maresh of the 303rd Military Police Company of Jackson, Mich. Maresh is an operations sergeant who trained on post for the first time in the Guardian Warrior exercise in June.

"There are a lot of valuable assets here I never knew were here."

For more information about range improvement projects, call the Range Management Branch at 608-388-4629.