Fort McCoy News June 10, 2016

Civil-affairs Soldiers build land-navigation skills

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Equipped with compasses, maps, and eyes keen for terrain features, Soldiers with the 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Company (HHC) of Green Bay, Wis., ventured out May 27 to Fort McCoy's Compass Course 2 on South Post to complete land-navigation training.

Land navigation, also called orienteering, and map reading are core skills required of every Soldier as part of assigned Army Warrior Tasks. Both skills are outlined in Army Field Manual 3-25.26, Map Reading and Land Navigation, which shows that Soldiers have many tools available to them to complete the training, such as the lensatic compass and GPS devices.

Spc. Taylor Mitchell (left), Pfc. Marcus Bird, Spc. Cody Wrensch, and Staff Sgt. Frankie Tedtaotao, all with the 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Company of Green Bay, Wis., participate in land-navigation training May 27 at Compass Course 2 on Fort McCoy’s South Post.
Spc. Taylor Mitchell (left), Pfc. Marcus Bird, Spc. Cody Wrensch, and
Staff Sgt. Frankie Tedtaotao, all with the 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion
Headquarters and Headquarters Company of Green Bay, Wis., participate
in land-navigation training May 27 at Compass Course 2 on Fort McCoy's
South Post.

Capt. Michael Maas, officer in charge of the unit's annual training, said the 20 HHC Soldiers who participated in the training gained valuable basic-soldiering skills. The 432nd is part of the Army Reserve's 308th Civil Affairs Brigade, which is headquartered in Homewood, Ill.

"We conducted both day and night land-navigation training," Maas said. "These are skills we have to have as Soldiers, especially if we are going to mobilize for a deployment. This training also is valuable to our junior Soldiers as it helps prepare them for future (professional) courses, such as the Basic Leader Course."

Maas said the 432nd Soldiers did well in the training.

"This is an amazing group of Soldiers," Maas said. "They were able to improvise, adapt, and overcome all (challenges) that were presented."

Completing the land-navigation training at Fort McCoy was a new experience for Human Resources Specialist Spc. Taylor Mitchell with the 432nd.

"It's been a good learning experience to go through some of this different terrain," Mitchell said. "You have to know (how to read) different types of terrain, especially if you are going to deploy where you can encounter many different types of terrain."

Motor Sergeant Staff Sgt. Frankie Tedtaotao, also with the 432nd, said successful land navigation takes a team approach. The event was a good teamwork opportunity.

"I love being out in the field because it builds good cohesion," Tedtaotao said. "When we are back in the rear, the Soldiers are off in their sections supporting (their mission). As an HHC, it's actually rare that we work together as a group, so this actually makes us learn more about each other and about our strengths and weaknesses."

Staff Sgt. Frankie Tedtaotao with the 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion Headquarters and Headquarters Company of Green Bay, Wis., gets a compass reading during training.
Staff Sgt. Frankie Tedtaotao with the 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion
Headquarters and Headquarters Company of Green Bay, Wis., gets a
compass reading during training.

Maas said the land-navigation training was part of a full two weeks of training at Fort McCoy. The 432nd Soldiers also trained at installation simulation facilities, practiced convoy operations, participated in the Combat Lifesaver Course at the Medical Simulation Training Center, and finished additional Army Warrior Tasks.

"We worked on all types of training so that if we do mobilize, we have those skills," Maas said. He added that Fort McCoy's training areas and simulation facilities "are among the best in the Army."

Doug Naber with the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS) Range Scheduling office said Compass Course 2 and related courses are popular training venues. The four Fort McCoy training areas used for dismounted land-navigation training cover 5,216 acres.

"The compass courses certainly get used a lot here," Naber said, noting that compass courses were signed out for use 25 times in April.

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