Fort McCoy News Aug. 12, 2016

TTBs, open areas serve as operational hubs

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Four of Fort McCoy's established tactical training bases (TTBs) and several other range complex open areas served as operational hubs for many units in Warrior Exercise (WAREX) 86-16-03 through most of July.

TTBs Independence, Patriot, Justice, and Valor cover dozens of acres of training space at Fort McCoy, said Range Scheduling Supervisor Mark Stelzner with the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS) Range Operations. The TTBs have no permanent buildings, tents, or infrastructure.

Soldiers participating in the 86th Training Division’s Warrior Exercise 86-16-03 run camp operations at Tactical Training Base Justice on Fort McCoy’s North Post.
Soldiers participating in the 86th Training Division's Warrior Exercise
86-16-03 run camp operations at Tactical Training Base Justice on Fort
McCoy's North Post.

"Each TTB differs in size and offers a space for units to create their own unique training areas," Stelzner said. "For WAREX, each TTB was occupied with multiple units and had anywhere from 550 to 800 troops at each location."

For WAREX, troops also operated from Improved TTBs Freedom and Liberty and set up smaller encampments at Big Sandy Lake and Cranberry and Warrens drop zones. Many of these areas, including TTBs, were referred to as "host-nation base camps" as part of the exercise.

DPTMS Director Brad Stewart said TTBs, as well as some of the other open areas around the Fort McCoy range complex, are very important for WAREX operations to support training under austere conditions during theater-opening missions associated with the exercise.

"The Army Reserve and the Army as a whole are going back to operating under austere conditions like Soldiers will have when they go to a theater of operations to execute combat support and combat-service-support operations in a joint environment," Stewart said. "Going into these open areas across Fort McCoy, in addition to the TTBs, allows units to operate in a disbursed and distributed environment.

"WAREX (is) focused on the Army Campaign Plan, which is basically your theater-opening operations," Stewart said. "This is where all these TTBs … allow for the expeditionary sustainment command (team) to take all these assets that are combat support and combat service support and establish theater-supply distribution points."

Soldiers with the Army Reserve's 77th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, arrived at Fort McCoy July 4 to begin setup at TTB Independence for WAREX. The 77th's Training and Logistics Officer Capt. Felicia Day said her unit came prepared to lead operations at the site.

"Our battalion served as this (TTB's) mayor," Day said. "We have six units falling in under us to do their mission, including a transportation company, a fuel company, and a medical unit. We also have about 800 troops at this location."

Soldiers with the 77th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion of Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, unload cots at Tactical Training Base Independence on Fort McCoy’s South Post in early July.
Soldiers with the 77th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion of
Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, unload cots at Tactical Training Base
Independence on Fort McCoy's South Post in early July.

Within days of arrival at TTB Independence, Day said generators, tents, and perimeter security were set up to begin operations.

"(Our Soldiers) hit the ground running here," Day said. "They were ready to go and do the work that needed to be done."

Staff Sgt. William Longston, a transportation management coordinator with the 77th, was impressed with the TTB. "This area is huge," he said. "There's plenty of space for us to set up operations for sure."

Longston said operating from a remote TTB provides perspective.

"Being here, everyone gets to understand what it means to run a forward operating area or tactical assembly area/base camp," Longston said. "They get to experience a wide array of things, and they get to put into practice the many Army Warrior Tasks and skills we have to know.

"From here we operate convoys, missions, entry-control points and more," he said. "It's a phenomenal experience for all of these Soldiers."

DPTMS Range Maintenance maintains the TTBs during and after training use. Fort McCoy Logistics Readiness Center staff and other tenant and garrison organizations also provide support to TTB operations when training is in progress.

Day said the Fort McCoy staff support is appreciated. "They helped us from the time before we left," she said, "and they have been helpful since we have been here. Everybody at Fort McCoy has been great."

WAREX provided participating units an assessment of multi-echelon collective tactical and technical training proficiency, according to the 86th Training Division. Approximately 6,800 service members participated in WAREX, excluding the Red Dragon, HR Train, Patriot, and Joint Task Force-Port Opening exercises. The exercise provided personnel in sustainment, chemical, engineer, human resources, medical, infantry, maintenance, and other military occupations with focused training that replicates a tactical and combat environment, enforces small unit leadership principles, and reinforces realistic and demanding Army Warrior training.

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