Fort McCoy News March 24, 2017

Range Maintenance Section

keeps training areas ready for exercise ops

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

As the Operation Cold Steel exercise takes place at Fort McCoy, hundreds of Soldiers are firing tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition at targets as part of live-fire maneuvers at installation ranges. Those ranges, and the targets utilized by Cold Steel participants, remain operational thanks to the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security Range Maintenance Section.
Operation Cold Steel is a new Army Reserve live-fire exercise that began March 4 at Fort McCoy and continues through April 29.

The exercise's purpose is to qualify gun crews to support service requirements for Army Early Response Forces.
Don Lemerand, engineer team supervisor for Range Maintenance, said the dozens of workers on the team were preparing for the exercise weeks in advance.

"Before this exercise started, all the ranges were already prepped and ready for use," Lemerand said. "We have to be ready to go because there's a lot of work that has to be accomplished to ensure everything is good to go."

Robert Clark, target systems worker with the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security Range Maintenance section, works on a target March 10 on Range 29 on Fort McCoy’s North Post.
Robert Clark, target systems worker with the Directorate of Plans,
Training, Mobilization and Security Range Maintenance section, works
on a target March 10 on Range 29 on Fort McCoy's North Post.



Jared Matthews, target systems worker with the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security Range Maintenance team, works on an automated target March 10 on Range 2 on North Post at Fort McCoy. The work was in preparation for range use by service members training in Operation Cold Steel, an Army Reserve exercise.
Jared Matthews, target systems worker with the Directorate of Plans,
Training, Mobilization and Security Range Maintenance team, works
on an automated target March 10 on Range 2 on North Post at Fort
McCoy. The work was in preparation for range use by service members
training in Operation Cold Steel, an Army Reserve exercise.

Ranges 2, 26, 29, and 34 are among the training areas receiving heavy use during Operation Cold Steel. Range Maintenance prepared those areas by ensuring roads and parking areas were in good shape. The team cleaned and tested range towers and buildings, and they also ensured pop-up and moving targets were working as required.

"We always have to be several steps ahead of planned events," said Bruce Altman, target-systems team supervisor. "It can be a lot of work to stay ahead, but we want to ensure our customers see a range or training area that is ready to go."
Altman said before any range is used by service members for training, Range Maintenance personnel complete the two-hour daily maintenance in the morning.

"Our regular, planned maintenance time for each range is from 6 to 8 a.m., before it is used," Altman said. "We'll ensure areas are cleaned up and everything is operational. Then we'll have people on hand to help the (service members) if they need it."

Jared Matthews, target systems worker, is one of the newest members of the Range Maintenance team. He worked with several targets and systems on Range 2 to prepare for the exercise and said he enjoys the opportunity to support an important mission.

"I like being out here and seeing how these systems work," Matthews said. "Nothing is ever the same in what we do. Every day I learn something new.

"It's also exciting to know I'm out here supporting the training mission," Matthews said. "We get to support the troops and see how they train, too. While I'm still learning, it's also great to see everything in action."

Glenn Oliver, also a target systems worker, said everyone in Range Maintenance works together to get work completed, not just for Operation Cold Steel, but for every training event at Fort McCoy.

"It's nice to be a part of this team," Oliver said. "Everyone here knows how important it is to have all of these ranges ready for training, and we work together to make sure they are."

As Operation Cold Steel continues, the Range Maintenance team will continue to do its part to make sure the exercise is successful, said Range Maintenance Section Supervisor Barry Schroader.

"Range Maintenance has people who are dedicated, hard workers who are willing to go above and beyond to support our training mission," Schroader said. "When the service members need us, we're there to help every time."

For more information about Range Maintenance, call 608-388-3777. For more information about training opportunities at Fort McCoy, call 608-388-5038.