Fort McCoy News Oct. 23, 2015

Fiscal year 2015 training total sets record

BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

A record 155,237 personnel trained at Fort McCoy in fiscal year (FY) 2015 — up more than 10,000 from FY 2014 and more than 30,000 from FY 2013.

The previous record number of people to train at the installation was 149,432 people during FY 2000. The first time more than 100,000 people trained on post during a fiscal year (October to September) was FY 1985.

"The Army is becoming more aware of Fort McCoy's training capabilities," said Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS) Training Division Chief Ed Carns. "The growth (in training numbers) is across the board. It comes from the exercises, which have grown in number. It also comes from the participation of active-component units training here, such as the 10th Mountain Division and the 1st Infantry Division."

Photo 1
Army M113 Armored Personnel Carriers from the 316th Engineer Company, 926th Engineer Brigade, 844th Engineer Battalion,412th Theater Engineer Command "engage" enemy forces while participating in a Combined Arms Breach during the Combat Support Training Exercise at Fort McCoy in
August.
Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Clinton Wood

DPTMS personnel document the training statistics each month of the fiscal year. This involves combining numbers of the entire training population, which encompasses joint reserve- and active-component military forces as well as other training agencies, such as law-enforcement agencies or the Wisconsin Challenge Academy.

The FY 15 training statistics were split between extended combat training (ECT) and battle drills. The ECT total for the fiscal year was 101,425, which includes participation in the Warrior Exercise and two Combat Support Training Exercises. The battle drill (weekend training) total for FY 2015 was 53,812.

Carns said the annual training statistics continuously have increased since the mobilization mission ended at Fort McCoy.

"When we lost the mobilization mission, it allowed for the increase in numbers," Carns said. "It added more predictability in the schedule for units to schedule training, and there have been more units that need to train because the Army has drawn down (forces) in Iraq and Afghanistan."

The FY 15 statistics show more than 63 percent of the people who trained at Fort McCoy during the year did so between May and September — the busiest training time on post. The increase in training between October and April in recent years had the largest effect on the training-number increase, Carns said.

"Even small numbers of people training outside the (traditional training-season) window can have a huge impact," Carns said. "Those numbers are significant because they represent a different type of training and the potential for even more growth. If we get to where we have 1,000 troops training each week or month between October and April, whether it's for winter warfare or related training, it could provide (another) significant increase (in training numbers)."

Training during FY 2015 also showed significant involvement by service members in other services, including 2,959 Marines, 447 Airmen, and 179 Sailors. "We've seen continuous growth with other services training here as well," Carns said.

Photo 2
Students with a Regional Training Site (RTS)-Maintenance training course practice using a military tow truck to move a vehicle at the Vehicle Recovery Site on Fort McCoy's South Post earlier in 2015. RTS-Maintenance is a tenant organization at Fort McCoy. Photo by Scott T. Sturkol

Gunnery Sgt. Marshall Cleveland, an instructor with the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center of Bridgeport, Calif., led cold-weather training for Reserve Marines in late February. He, like many others, said the post is an ideal place to train because of the options available.

"The staff and facilities here were very accommodating and very helpful," Cleveland said. "I would recommend to other instructors at the Mountain Warfare Training Center to come (to Fort McCoy) to do this same type of training in the future."

Carns said more people are seeing what Fort McCoy has to offer in capability and support, and are returning every year to train.
"The quality and capability of what we have here is what gets them here initially," Carns said. "We go out and we circulate (our capabilities) around the Army. They can see, and we can portray, what our capabilities are and they can see they are fairly significant. That gets them in the door.

"What brings them back is the fact that it is as good here as we say it is and better," Carns said. "We can back up what we say. They see it when they get here with the way we deal with the units and the way we support them. It's what they experience while working with the (Fort McCoy) team that brings them back."

Capt. Joshua Frye, an operations officer with the 290th Military Police (MP) Company at Nashville, Tenn., worked as part of the coordination staff for the 200th MP Command's Guardian Justice exercise at Fort McCoy in June and July.

Frye and his team led training for hundreds of MPs as part of an effort that grew from test-bed training in 2014. He said they appreciated all the support Fort McCoy personnel provided.

"We used just some of the many great facilities (at Fort McCoy)," Frye said. "We (were) really excited to be able to do this here, because it's got everything we need and we get great support. It was well worth the trip."

Carns said the new training year will remain busy, estimating FY 2016 will have about the same number of people training. Going forward, Carns said the focus will be maintaining support for the large Army Reserve and National Guard exercises and increasing the joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational training base.

For more information, call the DPTMS Training Division at 608-388-5038.