Fort McCoy News June 23, 2017

Fort McCoy proves to be

ideal location for XCTC Exercise

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

During June, Fort McCoy has averaged more than 12,000 troops training on post each week for most of the month. The majority of those troops are part of the Exportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) Exercise coordinated by the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team and Joint Forces Headquarters-Illinois of the Illinois Army National Guard.

Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security Director Brad Stewart said that although it's a busy month like many other months at the installation, it shows how the post is a great location for all types of training.

"It has been extremely busy," Stewart said. "There is a lot of great training that's occurring out here. Fort McCoy is an Army premier Total Force Training Center. This installation is here to help the Army meet its operational-demand requirements for combatant commanders anywhere in the world. That's one of our missions here — to provide training, infrastructure, and support so units can come in and increase their readiness."

Soldiers drive military trucks in a convoy at Fort McCoy during operations for the Exportable Combat Training Capability Exercise on June 9.
Soldiers drive military trucks in a convoy at Fort McCoy during operations
for the Exportable Combat Training Capability Exercise on June 9.



Soldiers at Fort McCoy for the Exportable Combat Training Capability Exercise prepare and line up their vehicles for a large convoy June 15 at the installation.
Soldiers at Fort McCoy for the Exportable Combat Training Capability
Exercise prepare and line up their vehicles for a large convoy June 15 at
the installation.

Besides thousands of troops from the Illinois Army National Guard, there are also more than 500 troops with the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) of Fort Campbell, Ky., who are supporting training as opposing forces.

"They, too, have been able to go out and complete some unit training of their own in addition to their support for the exercise," Stewart said. "With the premier capability we have (at Fort McCoy), we are allowed to provide units with that infrastructure to increase their readiness level."

Capt. Brandon Hunsaker, commander of D Company, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment of the Illinois Army National Guard, said training at Fort McCoy helps his unit improve its readiness.

"Having a place like Fort McCoy is very valuable to us," Hunsaker said. "It allows us to do certain things we might not be able to do in other places. Fort McCoy also allows us to do many different things with the amount of ranges that are here (and) the training areas that are available. (The post) allows us to go out and do collective training (that) our company is designed to do.

"We also have a wide variety of training aids available to us as well," Hunsaker said.

First Sgt. Kevin Driscoll, also with Company D, 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment, said the installation is a great place to train.

"Fort McCoy offers our whole unit an opportunity for training," Driscoll said. "In this training, Soldiers get an opportunity to mold their respective skills and (as they work together) they can become a better team."

Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Director Lt. Col. Brad Leighton said the installation's capabilities and capacity are reasons why the XCTC Exercise was planned for Fort McCoy.

"This is a large exercise," Leighton said. "Having this training at Fort McCoy is definitely good for us, too. It is fairly close to Illinois, so there is a cost savings (in transportation) and a time savings there, as well. Plus, Fort McCoy has everything needed to conduct an exercise like this."

Stewart said the installation will continue to grow as a year-round training center.

"Fort McCoy has been continuously busy, and we continue to see an increase nearly every year," Stewart said. "We're anticipating to see that much more as we see the numbers growing for August and September. Additionally, we are going to continue to train service members here more in the winter.

"We're just starting to see cold-weather training come back in larger numbers," he said. "We'll see increased winter training as early as January and another gunnery season as early as February. As we hear about threats occurring throughout the world, … and as units get ready to be able to respond to anywhere throughout the world, you're going to see more (troops) coming here to train in the winter time as well as in the spring, summer, and fall."