Fort McCoy News July 22, 2016

86th Training Division hosts Warrior Exercise

The 86th Training Division's Warrior Exercise (WAREX) 86-16-03 is underway with nearly 6,800 service members participating.
WAREX, which began July 9, is a three-week training exercise designed to assess units on collective tactical and technical proficiency. It is part of the "road to readiness" to ensure these units are prepared to support missions worldwide.

Spc. Josh Johnson, Bravo Company, 222nd Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, engages an M113 Armored Personnel Carrier with a rocket-propelled grenade simulator during Warrior Exercise operations July 12 at Fort McCoy.
Spc. Josh Johnson, Bravo Company, 222nd Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat
Team, 10th Mountain Division, engages an M113 Armored Personnel
Carrier with a rocket-propelled grenade simulator during Warrior
Exercise operations July 12 at Fort McCoy.
Photo by Sgt. Robert Farrell

"Exercises, such as WAREX, are designed to provide a collective tactical and technical training experience and are part of a critical path to deliver unit readiness for our Army," said Brig. Gen. Lee J. Gray, commanding general of the 86th Training Division and the WAREX director. "Commanders are responsible for training their Soldiers, and exercises provide the ideal venue for them to assess their unit's mission readiness and build their next year's training plan."

Because of the size and scope of the exercise, WAREX provides a unique opportunity for myriad military occupation specialties to train together on simulated combat missions and to work as a team, just like they would in a real-world environment, said Col. William Woods, 2nd Operations Brigade commander and deputy exercise director for WAREX. The exercise is designed to reinforce small-unit leadership principles and to support the realistic and demanding Army Warrior training.

"WAREX is a true opportunity for Army Reserve unit commanders to test their organization's functional skills and military readiness in a challenging and dynamic environment that simulates combat conditions," Woods said. "The complexity of the exercise also builds as the units prove their capability to perform under stressful conditions. All of this with the safety controls of a managed, collective training experience."

Spc. Gabriella Soto, 368th Financial Management Support Unit, cleans spent shell casings from a humvee after a live-fire event during Warrior Exercise operations at Fort McCoy July 14.
Spc. Gabriella Soto, 368th
Financial Management Support
Unit, cleans spent shell casings
from a humvee after a live-fire
event during Warrior Exercise
at Fort McCoy July 14.
Photo by
Spc. John Russell

The exercise was designed to test and develop leaders at every level. One of the key objectives for the 2016 WAREX is to enable units at the platoon level to succeed in a tactical environment when faced with the stressors of combat.

"We are a constantly evolving force that must continuously focus on leader development," said Command Sgt. Maj. Abbe Mulholland, command sergeant major of the 86th Training Division and WAREX.

"Throughout this exercise, units receive missions that provide opportunities to hone troop-leading procedures down to the squad and team level and execute doctrinally correct training missions."

Spc. Jose Ponce, a power-generation equipment repairer with the 77th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, said the training activities he's experienced have helped him build his individual Soldier skills and has helped his unit become better.

"Coming here is an experience that our unit needs," Ponce said. "If we have to deploy, then we have to be ready, and this training does that for us."

Spc. Anthony Otero, a unit supply specialist also with the 77th, added, "I haven't deployed overseas yet, so I believe the exercise helps me get that kind of experience. It also helps me complete work in my (military occupational specialty)."

One distinctive aspect of the WAREX is that units are working in an austere operational environment, and part of their training is to establish tactical training bases from which to operate. They form the communication infrastructure and coordinate with each other for logistical support. The complexity of an exercise like this takes a great deal of planning and a lot of support from the installation.

The 86th Training Division has partnered with the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS); Logistics Readiness Center; Network Enterprise Center; and the Directorate of Public Works Troop Facilities Support Branch to maximize the use of Fort McCoy's training facilities.

"The (DPTMS) Training Coordination Branch is involved in each of the training exercise conferences and planning meetings to develop and identify the resources that Fort McCoy needs to provide to meet the training objectives that are identified," said DPTMS Director Brad Stewart.

A Soldier fires an M2 .50-caliber machine gun from atop a humvee on Range 29 during a night live-fire exercise July 13 as part of the Warrior Exercise.
A Soldier fires an M2 .50-caliber machine gun from atop a humvee on
Range 29 during a night live-fire exercise July 13 as part of the Warrior
Exercise.
Photo by Jamal Wilson


Second Lt. Alden Ambrocia, 968th Quartermaster Company, meets with role-players who are acting as key leaders during a Warrior Exercise scenario at Fort McCoy July 12.
Second Lt. Alden Ambrocia, 968th Quartermaster Company, meets with
role-players who are acting as key leaders during a Warrior Exercise
scenario at Fort McCoy July 12.
Photo by Spc. John Russell

"They look at the exercises and all the transient units coming through to complete training to make sure that all the resources are synchronized."

DPTMS Training Coordination Branch Chief Craig Meeusen said participation in exercise planning also helps them communicate all the good things Fort McCoy has to offer for training.

"It's two-way communication — they can tell us what they need, and we can tell them what we can provide," said Meeusen.

"Fort McCoy is a great training enabler and partner," Gray said. "It has plentiful training resources … state-of-the-art virtual trainers, after-action review instrumentation, urban and rural training areas, and live-fire ranges that provide the opportunity for our command teams to train their Soldiers all year round."

Overall, this is the sixth WAREX for the 86th Training Division. The 86th hosted WAREX 2016 with support from First Army West, the 75th Training Command Great Lakes Division, and the 181st Infantry Brigade.

   (Article prepared by the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office and the 86th Training Division.)