Fort McCoy News May 12, 2017

Fort McCoy's training activity shifts into high gear

STORY & PHOTO BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

The number of troops training at Fort McCoy in 2017 has been steadily increasing each month since January, and it's only going to get busier, said Training Coordination Branch Chief Craig Meeusen with the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS).

"We're busy now, and it's going to stay this busy at least until the end of August," Meeusen said.

Starting in January, training was held in the Cold-Weather Operations Course and continued through March. Dozens of students were trained in cold-weather operating skills.

Service members at Fort McCoy for Warrior Exercise 86-17-02 walk in formation en route to a physical training session near Rumpel Fitness Center May 3.
Service members at Fort McCoy for Warrior Exercise 86-17-02 walk in
formation en route to a physical training session near Rumpel Fitness
Center on May 3.



WAREX training
Service members at Fort McCoy for training in the 86th Training
Division's Warrior Exercise 86-17-02 operate a vehicle May 4 at Fort
McCoy.

In other institutional training, Regional Training Site (RTS)-Maintenance; RTS-Medical; the 13th Battalion, 100th Regiment; and the Staff Sgt. Todd R. Cornell Noncommissioned Officer Academy also have trained hundreds of students between January and April in military occupational specialty and Army leadership skills in many different classes.

In March and April, the first Operation Cold Steel exercise by the Army Reserve took place at Fort McCoy and thousands of Soldiers who were part of gunnery teams qualified on multiple weapons systems using multiple live-fire ranges on post.

Also in early May, the 86th Training Division's Warrior Exercise began as well as the Army Reserve's Red Dragon exercise, bringing more than 5,500 service members to train at the installation.

"Our statistics show we had more than 10,000 troops train here in April and thousands more in March," Meeusen said. "We're also going to be busy in June with an (Exportable Combat Training Center) exercise, plus there are many other large exercises and training events going on at the installation through August."

Other training in the near future at Fort McCoy includes the Guardian Justice exercise; annual training for the Wisconsin National Guard's 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team; the 86th's Combat Support Training Exercise; and the Global Medic, Diamond Saber, and Human Resource-Warrior exercises.

"Major commands and their subordinate units also are realizing that Fort McCoy is a premier Total Force Training Center for early deployers in the Army Early Response Forces to meet the Army's operational demand requirements in support of combatant commanders," said DPTMS Director Brad Stewart.

Because of the heightened activity at Fort McCoy, Installation Safety Office (ISO) Manager Randy Eddy said people need to concentrate on their driving performance and not get distracted, whether on or off the installation.

"With the increase in the training population, people will see much more pedestrian traffic and many larger tactical vehicles in the cantonment area and also all around the boundaries of Fort McCoy," Eddy said. "I would encourage all vehicle drivers to be extra cautious. Be aware that many of the Soldiers training here are not familiar with our normal traffic patterns and may be slow to react at intersections.

"There may also be lines of vehicles making turns off of Highway 21 and Highway 16," Eddy said. "Watch for Soldiers walking and running along roadways and also crossing roadways on post. The most concentrated areas where you will notice increased pedestrian traffic is around the Exchange and Commissary, McCoy's Community Center, and Rumpel Fitness Center.

Soldiers with the 467th Engineer Battalion of Millington, Tenn., use the Fort McCoy Wheeled Vehicle Driving Course on April 25, 2017, to train Soldiers on vehicle-driving certification on the installation's North Post. The training was part of Operation Cold Steel, an Army Reserve exercise held at Fort McCoy in March and April. (U.S. Army Photo by Scott T. Sturkol, Public Affairs Office, Fort McCoy, Wis.)
Soldiers with the 467th Engineer Battalion of Millington, Tenn., use the
Fort McCoy Wheeled Vehicle Driving Course on April 25 to train Soldiers
on vehicle-driving certification on the installation's North Post.

"To avoid traffic-related incidents, drivers should slow down, be patient and courteous, and stay eminently focused on the task of driving," Eddy said. "This is a good time to utilize your defensive driving skills. Slow down, wear your seat belt, put cellphones away, and have an enjoyable and safe summer."

As 2017 continues, it will likely be one of the busiest training years in a while, Meeusen said. And the Fort McCoy team will remain ready.

"And that's good," Meeusen said. "People select to come here because they know the installation staff will work together as a team to support whatever any unit needs to do.

"When units come here … they are ready to get down to business," he said. "They know the opportunities they have here and they want to take advantage of it. … I think it's going to be another very successful year."

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

For more information about safety at Fort McCoy, call the ISO at 608-388-3403.