Fort McCoy News August 28, 2015

McCoy facilities, staff focus on support excellence

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

August has been a busy month at Fort McCoy with the 86th Training Division's Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX), the Diamond Saber and Red Dragon exercises, plus regularly scheduled training events taking place.

On average, nearly 13,000 service members were on post for training in the first three weeks of August. In July, more than 8,000 troops trained each week, and in June, more than 18,000.

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Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS) Director Brad Stewart said members of the Fort McCoy workforce always strive to provide "world-class customer service and support," and busy training times require extra effort.

The installation can support large exercises because of the people who work here, Stewart said. "(Fort McCoy's) employees and contractors have passion for what they do to support Total Force training and to ensure units depart here at the highest readiness level possible."

Successful support comes from preparation, Stewart said. An example of that preparation includes Fort McCoy representatives participating in the DPTMS Training Coordination Working Group.

Representatives from each of Fort McCoy's organizations attend the meetings to synchronize all training support and to identify any gaps or seams in the support and to resolve those prior to a unit or an exercise arriving, Stewart said.

"Outside of that meeting, there always is a lot of crosstalk between units and organizations that occurs," Stewart said. "It's constant communication back and forth. It's working with whoever is in charge of an exercise (or unit) to keep that open line of communication to resolve any gaps that are identified."

Photo 1
Military police (MP) use a training
tower at the Enemy Prisoner of
War (EPW) 2 training area on
Fort McCoy's South Post in July.
EPW 2 is used for the training of
MP personnel.

After service members arrive and all planning and preparation have been done with the Fort McCoy staff, operations for training are set up. This includes use of forward operating bases and tactical training bases; troop support facilities and barracks; morale, welfare, and recreation (MWR) facilities; and any of the ranges and training areas located throughout Fort McCoy's 60,000-acre footprint.

Much of Fort McCoy was in use in August for the CSTX and other training. Kert Hanson, branch chief for the Directorate of Public Works Troop Facilities Support Branch (TFSB), said many facilities are signed out by units from Aug. 1 through Sept. 30.

"There are approximately 350 TFSB facilities signed for," Hanson said. "These include barracks, dining facilities, administrative and maintenance buildings, and basic officer quarters."

DPTMS Training Support Officer Robert Weisbrod, who manages Fort McCoy's simulation training complex and related support, said DPTMS supported more than 1,700 service members for the August CSTX on six different trainers, including the Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer, Dismounted Soldier Training System, and the Engagement Skills Trainer.

Additionally, approximately 4,500 sets of Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES) devices were issued to support training, and certification training on using MILES was provided to more than 50 Soldiers, Weisbrod said.

Logistics Readiness Center Transportation Division personnel have been very busy all year supporting exercises, said Installation Transportation Officer D.J. Eckland. He highlighted the division's freight and unit-movement sections.

In June, the freight section processed more than 700 pieces of equipment for the Warrior Exercise while simultaneously supporting Army Reserve units in its 28-state support area with shipment requests for training at locations such as the Army Support Activity at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., and Fort Hunter-Liggett, Calif.

For the August CSTX, the unit movement section received 45 railcars transporting more than 150 pieces of tracked and wheeled vehicles.

The movement of tracked vehicles from the rail area into the training area required close coordination among the Transportation Division, CSTX planners, and the 1158th Transportation Company from the Wisconsin National Guard, Eckland said.

"The use of Heavy Equipment Transporter Systems to transport tracked vehicles, such as M1A2s and M2A3s, provides units like the 1158th with operator training not easily replicated at home station," Eckland said.

Photo 2
An Air Force C-17 Globemaster III comes in to land at the Sparta-Fort McCoy Airport Aug. 12 as part of operations for the Combat Support Training Exercise. The airport has had increased use in 2015 in support of several major training exercises. The facility has benefitted from several upgrades coordinated by Fort McCoy staff.

Other areas of the post that see increased use include the LRC Central Issue Facility, Central Fuel Operations, and Food Services; the 88th Regional Support Command Equipment Concentration Site-67; the Wisconsin National Guard Maneuver Area Training Equipment Site; the Network Enterprise Center; and the DPTMS Range Operations, Range Maintenance, and Airfield Services.

Scott Rich, fuels-system worker with Airfield Services of the DPTMS Airfield Division, said action at the Sparta-Fort McCoy Airport increases significantly during the large exercises.

In recent years, the airport and Young Air Assault Strip on South Post have had increased usage by Army helicopters, such as the UH-60 Blackhawk and the CH-47 Chinook, and Air Force aircraft, such as the C-130 Hercules and the C-17 Globemaster III.

"(Airfield services) is as critical as the tower in airfield operations," Rich said. "The most-important part of what we do is to provide fuel. We have to make sure we have an operable fuel system with on-specification fuel to support the mission."
Many of the installation's Family and MWR facilities also see a lot of use during large exercises.

"All of our facilities, such as the Rumpel Fitness Center, Recreation Center, McCoy's Community Club, and even Recreational Equipment Checkout Center, see much-higher usage during exercises," said Community Recreation Division Chief Jeff Uhlig from the Directorate of Family and MWR.

Knowing the time frame of exercises helps the division plan staffing to accommodate the increased usage and provide great customer service without negatively affecting the budget, Uhlig said.

Whatever the operations tempo, Stewart said Fort McCoy has built a culture of cooperation and excellence with training customers. The extensive coordination and planning helps ensure success.

"You (as a unit commander) can come in to Fort McCoy with a state of comfort to remain focused on training and not worry about support because you have done all your preplanning," Stewart said.

"The Fort McCoy staff has given you that feedback ensuring your support is locked in as submitted on the Fort McCoy Form 38. The world-class customer service here is unparalleled at any other training location and, as a result, (we) get repeat customers and positive word-of-mouth advertising.

"It shows that if units want to get away from their home station and see a tremendous training environment, (it means) go to Fort McCoy," Stewart said.

"Our training areas are complex and challenging, and you are only limited by your imagination."

For more information about training opportunities at Fort McCoy, call the DPTMS Training Division at 608-388-5038.