Fort McCoy News May 13, 2016

Reserve RSG's 800-plus Soldiers complete training

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

As part of its only annual unitwide training event, more than 800 Soldiers associated with the Army Reserve's 644th Regional Support Group (RSG) completed battle-drill training (BDT) at Fort McCoy in late April.

The BDT, also called a battle assembly or a multiunit training assembly, included Soldiers with the group's 457th Transportation Battalion and eight smaller individual units, said Master Sgt. David Fannon, operations noncommissioned officer (NCO) with the 644th RSG Headquarters and Headquarters Company of Minneapolis.

Soldiers with the 322nd Support Maintenance Company and the 203rd Transportation Company, both Army Reserve units in Arden Hills, Minn., participate in M240 and M249 machine-gun training  at Range 26 on Fort McCoy’s North Post. Soldiers from the 203rd and 322nd were among more than 800 Soldiers with 644th Regional Support Group units at Fort McCoy in late April to complete weapons qualifications at the installation.
Soldiers with the 322nd Support Maintenance Company and the 203rd
Transportation Company, both Army Reserve units in Arden Hills, Minn.,
participate in M240 and M249 machine-gun training at Range 26 on Fort
McCoy's North Post. Soldiers from the 203rd and 322nd were among more
than 800 Soldiers with 644th Regional Support Group units at Fort McCoy
in late April to complete weapons qualifications at the installation.



Soldiers repair a malfunctioning weapon at Range 26.
Soldiers repair a malfunctioning weapon at Range 26.


Soldiers with 644th Regional Support Group complete qualifications on the M2 .50-caliber machine gun at Range 34.
Soldiers with 644th Regional Support Group complete qualifications on
the M2 .50-caliber machine gun at Range 34.

"The assembly, essentially, was four days for all of our Soldiers to complete their annual weapons qualifications," Fannon said. "The spring is the only time of year where we bring in the entire (group) to one place to complete training."

Soldiers completed qualifying on numerous weapon systems including: M9 pistol; M4/M16 rifles; M240, M249, and M2 .50-caliber machine guns; and M67 hand grenade. The group used building 2643 as their base of operations for their training and completed weapons training at Ranges 1, 2, 8, 26, 30, 31, 34, and 35 on North Post.

"We like coming to Fort McCoy because you have all the facilities we need to do this training," Fannon said. "Most of us in the 644th and associated units are within a three-hour drive to Fort McCoy, so it also is fairly close for us.

"Additionally, we know that once we get our (training package) approved there, we know we are pretty well guaranteed the training areas are available to us for the time we need them," Fannon said. "That kind of assurance is good when you are doing an assembly of this size."

Sgt. 1st Class Jared Bulinski with the 322nd Support Maintenance Company, a unit associated with the 644th in Arden Hills, Minn., served as the range NCO in charge at Range 26 for Soldiers completing M240 and M249 qualifications. He said getting qualifications completed on the "automatic weapons" is crucial, especially for Soldiers in transportation-based units.

"These are important weapons systems because they are the squad level primary means of providing suppressive fire for any (enemy) engagement in a war zone," Bulinski said.

Bulinski said Range 26 served as a good automatic-weapons training location.

"I like it because it has the berms and good targeting systems," Bulinski said. "Some places have the flat range areas that don't break up the landscape. Here (at Range 26) the berms provide that additional depth perception that adds to a more-realistic field environment."

Fannon said he's been coming to Fort McCoy with the 644th RSG since 2005 and has noticed the many changes to the installation over those years.

"With all of the improvements to the ranges … and the troop facilities always improving … it's been great to be able to come to (Fort McCoy) and get this training done," he said.

The 644th RSG falls under the Reserve's 103rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. The command's overall mission is to provide food, fuel, water, and ammunition to forces as well as transport equipment and supplies.

For more information about the 644th RSG, call 612-713-3202. For more information about training at Fort McCoy, call the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security Training Division at 608-388-5038.