Fort McCoy News Aug. 14, 2015

Team effort keeps post's FOBs ready for training

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

A multiorganizational team effort keeps Fort McCoy's Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) Liberty and Freedom ready for training use.

The FOBs are situated on dozens of acres on North and South Post and include more than 200 tents and buildings.

Photo 1
Travis Dreke (left to right), Dave Schmitz, Kate Lane, and Allyn Paulsen, all general-maintenance employees with contractor Computer Science Corp./Warrior Training Alliance, work together to fold a tent section at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Liberty on Fort McCoy's North Post. The employees are part of the team in charge of maintenance at both Fort McCoy FOBs.

Fort McCoy workers with the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS); Directorate of Public Works (DPW); the Logistics Readiness Center (LRC); and more oversee FOB operations and maintenance.

DPTMS Director Brad Stewart said the FOBs are critical for Fort McCoy's training effort.

"Our FOBs are very similar to the host nation facilities that units might find in the theater of operations where they deploy," Stewart said. "The host nation will have a facility that U.S. military forces could lease and occupy for the duration of their operations.

"The FOBs can support several training tasks ... and provide an established facility for reserve-component units to utilize in a field environment based on their limited training days," Stewart said.

Dane Clarke, operations supervisor with contractor Computer Science Corp./Warrior Training Alliance (CSC/WTA), manages a team of general-maintenance staff that leads the FOB maintenance effort. Clarke said he and four other people on the team know the importance of what they do.

"These FOBs replicate the conditions troops would see in a combat zone, so we make sure all the requirements are in place for troops to use them," Clarke said.

DPTMS oversees the CSC/WTA team operations, which has a broad scope of maintenance for each FOB. Clarke described how his team prepares the FOBs for troop occupation.

FOB sleeping quarters are a priority, Clarke said. "We want to make sure they are clean and set up in a certain way. They have to have certain items such as a certain number of bed spaces as well as foot lockers, foot locker inserts, fire extinguishers, smoke alarms, and other safety equipment."

Photo 2
Fort McCoy's Forward Operating Base (FOB) Liberty awaits use by units training at Fort McCoy. Fort McCoy's two FOBs are maintained by a team of personnel that includes contractors and government civilians associated with the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security and the Directorate of Public Works.

Clarke said the team will go through every one of the nearly 200 sleeping tents, as well as the buildings, to make sure they "provide the best facilities possible."

Stewart said the CSC/WTA team's sustainment of the FOBs is an important part of the DPTMS Training Division and Range Operations and Maintenance day-to-day operations, which could not be accomplished without the collaborative efforts with DPW and others.

"All year long, Clarke and his team are inspecting facilities to identify required repairs and order the associated parts," Stewart said. "If the repair requires a DPW work order, then they submit the work order through DPTMS Range Operations and Maintenance for approval and processing. Regardless, (they) have the responsibility to ensure all FOB facilities are fully operational and mission capable regardless of the time of year."

Each FOB also has a food-serving facility and dining facility. Those facilities are managed and supported by the DPW Troop Facilities Support Branch and the LRC.

"DPW is the custodian of the (serving and dining facilities), and the equipment inside belongs to us," said Fort McCoy Food Service Manager Andy Pisney of LRC's Supply and Services Division. "We assist Troop Facilities personnel as well as the contractors to ensure all the equipment in those facilities is operational and ready to use. There is always a lot of coordination going on between agencies."

Clarke said the CSC/WTA team has employees who can do it all. "They are wonderful workers," Clarke said. "I don't have to tell them what to do — they know exactly what they have to do to prepare for a unit's arrival and to take care of the FOB," he said.
DPTMS Range Maintenance Supervisor Don Lemerand said they also help at the FOBs. "Dane and his team are pretty self-sufficient, but if they need a piece of equipment or help with something, we will give them a hand," he said.

Additional agency support for FOB care and maintenance includes fire-regulation guidance and support from the Directorate of Emergency Services Fire Department; infrastructure support from the post facility maintenance contractor, MTNT Properties Inc.; and more.

"It really is an overall team effort to keep these FOBs ready," Clarke said.

Stewart said the use and mission set for the FOBs will continue to grow, which in turn means the collaborative effort to maintain the bases is increasingly important.

"As we all know, Fort McCoy never closes and has some of the best training facilities even under wintry, freezing conditions," Stewart said. "Fort McCoy has a unique training capability to provide a cold-weather collective training environment for Total Force training year-round. The FOBs are part of that cold-weather climate infrastructure that units can use to support their cold-weather training experience.

"All the facilities, to include the sleep tents, have heat, which provides military forces a break from the cold weather while conducting their training," Stewart said.

"Therefore, the responsibility to ensure FOB facilities are ready for the winter is critical as Fort McCoy increases its cold-weather training population, as well as the summer training surge."

The most-important aspect of well-kept FOBs might be the appreciation troops have for them. In June, thousands of service members stayed at each FOB, and Clarke said he received great feedback.

"The majority of the troops who come through here praise the facilities and how we have it set up," Clarke said. "Also, our folks do a great job of supporting troops when they are staying at the FOBs. They know that it's more than just preparing this place for use; it's also about supporting the troops."

For more information about FOB maintenance, call Clarke at 608-388-8585.

For more information about Fort McCoy training areas, call the DPTMS Range Operations at 608-388-3721.