Fort McCoy News June 12, 2015

Fort McCoy hosts multicomponent Warrior Exercise

BY SGT. EBEN BOOTHBY
335th Signal Command (Theater)

FORT McCOY, Wis. — "One team, one fight" is a familiar saying when Soldiers from all components of the U.S. Army live, train, and fight alongside each other. This also was the theme at Warrior Exercise (WAREX) here May 2-22, where a stateside collaboration between Reserve, National Guard, and active-duty Soldiers and Airmen provided multicomponent training.

Photo 1
Soldiers of the 471st Engineering Company (Vertical) from Puerto Rico work on housing facilities at the Enemy Prisoner of War training area at Fort McCoy during the Warrior Exercise. The work was part of a Fort McCoy troop project as well as training. Photo by Sgt. Eben Boothby

The 62nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion (ESB) was one of many units participating in WAREX. The 62nd is an active-duty signal battalion based at Fort Hood, Texas. Signal Soldiers from the 62nd provided crucial communications and signal support for Reserve Soldiers conducting extended combat training.

The 62nd also supported Operation Grecian Firebolt 2015, the 335th Signal Command (Theater)-led annual operation that provides communication support to the warfighters during training exercises conducted throughout the U.S.

WAREX gave the 62nd ESB the ability to provide information management and network services, including Internet support, radio, satellite connectivity, email, and cable and Web support in a tactical, secure environment.

"The mission always remains a constant, but on a Soldier level, this exercise certainly opened our eyes to a different understanding of 'service' in general," said Sgt. 1st Class Spencer Kinder, 62nd ESB. "These Reservists (left) behind their Family and jobs to come out here and train at a very high tempo."

The 471st Engineering Company (Vertical), an Army Reserve unit from Puerto Rico, participated in WAREX for 10 days. The engineers helped build up a fully functional enemy prisoner of war (EPW) holding base, complete with guard towers, chain-link fence, running water, and electricity.

Soldiers in the 417st also lived in a state of constant awareness and were visibly on edge as exercise evaluators from the U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division staged consistent opposition-force attacks at all hours of the day to simulate a combat zone.

"This (was) all-encompassing training; everyone (was) out of their comfort zones. These are your everyday carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and large-vehicle operators thrust into an environment where they must drop their hammers or wrenches and pick up a radio or a weapon to defend the worksite," said 2nd Lt. Neriann Valez with the 471st.

Overall, this was the fifth WAREX for the 86th Training Division, a Fort McCoy tenant organization, according to the 86th. The 86th hosted WAREX 2015 with support from the 75th Training Division, First Army, various combat-trainer and observer-controller units, and other support units.

More than 100 units and 7,000 service members participated and were prepared for future missions by ensuring proficiency in both technical and tactical skills. WAREX also focused on Warrior Battle Drills and assisted the trained units in achieving their commander's training objectives.

For more information about WAREX, call 608-388-6242.

For more photographs of WAREX, click here.