Fort McCoy News May 12, 2017

Road to ready: 86th Training Division hosts

2017 Warrior Exercise

Participants in Warrior Exercise 86-17-02 complete bridging operations for the exercise May 7 on the Mississippi River at Fountain City, Wis.
Participants in Warrior Exercise 86-17-02 complete bridging
operations for the exercise May 7 on the Mississippi River at Fountain
City, Wis.
Photo courtesy 1st Battalion, 310th Brigade Engineer Battalion

Warrior Exercise 86-17-02 participants operate at the Combat in the Cities Bullard training area on North Post on May 4.
Warrior Exercise 86-17-02 participants operate at the Combat in the
Cities Bullard training area on North Post May 4.
Photo by Scott T. Sturkol

The 86th Training Division is back in action hosting Warrior Exercise (WAREX) 86-17-02 at Fort McCoy.

WAREX, which began April 29 and ends May 13, hosts nearly 6,000 Soldiers in a two-week training exercise that focuses on realistic and austere operational environments.

"The goal of WAREX is to provide units with environmental and situational training missions where they can practice their technical skills in a tactical context that is similar to what they might experience when deployed," said Lt. Col Andrew Rigor, deputy for the Operations, Plans and Training Section with the 86th. "This is important as it aids the units in training their mission-essential collective tasks and achieving objective-T (training) readiness levels that are expected along their glide-path to becoming deployment ready."

WAREX provides unique training opportunities for various Soldiers in various military occupation specialties to train together on simulated combat missions and to work together as a team, just like they would in a real-world environment.

"New to the exercise this year is the scenario shift to an earlier phase of operations, where the units are no longer in established sites conducting stability operations, but are in more austere assembly areas conducting tasks to support theater-opening and combat missions," Rigor said.

The exercise also is aimed at testing and developing leaders at every echelon. One of the key objectives for the 2017 WAREX is to enable units at the platoon level to succeed in a tactical environment when faced with the stressors of combat, Rigor said.

"WAREX 86-17-02 is designed to increase unit readiness at the squad and platoon level," said Maj. Pete Demaras, exercise planning officer of the 86th Training Division. "The units participating in WAREX are in planning year three, which is the walk phase for training."

The complexity of an exercise like this takes a great deal of planning and a lot of support, Rigor said. Units work in an austere operational environment where they have to establish tactical assembly areas from which they operate, form communication infrastructures, and coordinate with each other for logistical support.

"We are all about training and equipping Soldiers. We must be an enabler to the Army Reserve readiness in order to support combatant commanders across a range of military operations including to fight and win our nation's wars," said Lt. Col. Thomas Magill, deputy commanding officer, 1st Operations Brigade, 86th Training Division.

Service members at Fort McCoy for training in the 86th Training Division's Warrior Exercise 86-17-02 drive tactical vehicles in a convoy on South Post during exercise operations May 4 at Fort McCoy.
Service members at Fort McCoy for training in the 86th Training
Division's Warrior Exercise 86-17-02 drive tactical vehicles in a
convoy on South Post during exercise operations May 4 at Fort McCoy.

Photo by Scott T. Sturkol


Soldiers at Fort McCoy for training Warrior Exercise 86-17-02 practice flying an unmanned aerial vehicle at Warrens Drop Zone on North Post during exercise operations May 4 .
Soldiers at Fort McCoy for training Warrior Exercise 86-17-02
practice flying an unmanned aerial vehicle at Warrens Drop Zone on
North Post during exercise operations May 4.
Photo by Scott T. Sturkol


Warrior Exercise participants drive military vehicles in a convoy on North Post during exercise operations May 3.
Warrior Exercise participants drive military vehicles in a convoy on
North Post during exercise operations May 3.
Photo by Scott T. Sturkol


Soldiers at Fort McCoy for training in Warrior Exercise 86-17-02 hook up a trailer to a humvee during exercise operations May 4.
Soldiers at Fort McCoy for training in Warrior Exercise 86-17-02 hook up
a trailer to a humvee during exercise operations May 4.
Photo by Sgt. 1st
Class Demian LaChance


Soldiers react to a contact scenario during a nighttime convoy May 8 on a Home-Station Training Lane on Fort McCoy's South Post.
Soldiers react to a contact scenario during a nighttime convoy May 8 on
a Home-Station Training Lane on Fort McCoy's South Post.
Photo courtesy
1st Battalion, 310th Brigade Engineer Battalion

Fort McCoy staff also are busy supporting the exercise. Fort McCoy Food Service Manager Andy Pisney with the Logistics Readiness Center's (LRC) Supply and Services Division said his team is busy feeding the masses.

"In the cantonment area, we are operating the dining facility in building 1672 to support WAREX personnel," Pisney said. "By the end of the exercise, we project to have served approximately 45,000 meals."

Pisney leads the LRC's Food Program Management Office (FPMO), which includes food-service specialists, quality-assurance evaluators, and support staff within the Subsistence Supply Management Office (SSMO). The FPMO and SSMO, in turn, work with food-service prime vendor Sysco Foods of Baraboo, Wis., and food-service contractor DCT Inc.

"The SSMO is supporting the WAREX Class I Point with bulk operational rations that include unitized group rations and Meals, Ready-To-Eat (MREs); and enhancements that include milk, fruits, vegetables, cereal, bread, and ice," Pisney said.

"The Class I Point personnel ensure these rations go out to the (training areas) for preparation at all the field kitchen sites."
Pisney said they estimate that 6,375 cases of MREs, 1,000-plus bags of ice, and 3,415 unit group rations in two types will have been distributed for WAREX.

Directorate of Public Works Troop Facilities Support Branch Chief Kert Hanson said his personnel also are busy supporting the exercise where needed.

"We utilize the maximum amount of facilities available for transient training, especially for exercise support," Hanson said. "We issue every available facility with a constant rotation of customers moving in and out within a very short window during our busiest training periods on post. Our 10 laundromats, for example, are utilized around the clock to support service members during the major exercises like WAREX."

Other Fort McCoy staff supporting exercise operations include the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security Range Maintenance, Range Operations, Range Scheduling, Range Safety, simulation training, and other directorate staff. The LRC's Transportation Division and Central Issue Facility also help with logistics and equipment-issue support. And, the Fort McCoy Commissary; Fort McCoy Exchange; and the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation have facilities and staff supporting the transient training population.

Overall, this is the seventh WAREX for the 86th Training Division. The 86th hosts WAREX 2017 with support from 75th Great Lakes Division, Medical Readiness Training Command, 181st Multi-Functional Training Brigade, Regional Training Site-Medical, General Dynamics, and the Fort McCoy installation staff.

Fort McCoy has supported America's armed forces since 1909. The installation's motto is to be the "Total Force Training Center." The post's varied terrain, state-of-the-art ranges, new as well as renovated facilities, and extensive support infrastructure, combine to provide military personnel with an environment in which to develop and sustain the skills necessary for mission success.

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