Fort McCoy News July 28, 2017

Airmen, Soldiers train in Patriot North 2017 Exercise

An aircrew with the Illinois Air National Guard’s 182nd Airlift Wing at Peoria operates a C-130 Hercules at Young Air Assault Strip on July 18 on South Post during the Patriot North 2017 Exercise at Fort McCoy.
An aircrew with the Illinois Air National Guard's 182nd Airlift Wing at
Peoria operates a C-130 Hercules at Young Air Assault Strip on July 18
on South Post during the Patriot North 2017 Exercise at Fort McCoy.



Airmen set up a mobile air traffic control tower July 18 at Young Air Assault Strip.
Airmen set up a mobile air traffic control tower July 18 at Young Air
Assault Strip.



Airmen with the Oregon Air National Guard’s 270th Air Traffic Control Squadron at Kingsley Field Air National Guard Base in Klamath Falls set up for air traffic control operations July 18 at Young Air Assault Strip.
Airmen with the Oregon Air National Guard's 270th Air Traffic Control
Squadron at Kingsley Field Air National Guard Base in Klamath Falls set
up for air traffic control operations July 18 at Young Air Assault Strip.



Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 376th Aviation Regiment, 63rd Theater Aviation Brigade of the Nebraska Army National Guard move cargo with a Chinook helicopter July 21 during operations for the Patriot North 2017 Exercise at the Young Air Assault Strip at Fort McCoy.
Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 376th Aviation Regiment, 63rd Theater
Aviation Brigade of the Nebraska Army National Guard move cargo with a
Chinook helicopter July 21 during operations for the Patriot North 2017
Exercise at the Young Air Assault Strip at Fort McCoy.

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

During the second half of July, Fort McCoy's Young Air Assault Strip on South Post and other post training areas were in use for the Patriot North 2017 Exercise — a joint agency civilian and military exercise sponsored by the National Guard Bureau.

The exercise, operated mainly from Volk Field near Camp Douglas, Wis., included more than 900 civilians, volunteers, and National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from more than 20 states supporting the training. Approximately 200-plus service members held their part of the Patriot North training at Fort McCoy, said Lt. Col. Mickey Kirschenbaum, public affairs officer for the exercise.

Young Air Assault Strip, or YAAS, has been used for decades as a multiservice air strip for C-130 Hercules and C-17 Globemaster III Air Force aircraft as well as Army Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters.

"The air strip is an important part of our training complex at Fort McCoy," said James Hubbard, chief of the Airfield Division at the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS). "There's not many air strips like Young available for training, so it is highly sought-after as a training area for exercises, such as Patriot North."

Approximately 30 Airmen with the Oregon Air National Guard's 270th Air Traffic Control Squadron at Kingsley Field Air National Guard Base in Klamath Falls were among the first to set up operations at YAAS on July 17 as the exercise began.

The Airmen set up a mobile tower and a tactical air navigation system to allow for air traffic control operations during the exercise. The work included placing grounding wires and navigational aids.

"This is one of the few times where an air traffic control system has been used at the air strip," Hubbard said.

Patriot North is a training exercise designed for civilian emergency management and responders to work with military entities in the same manner that they would during disasters, Kirschenbaum said in a press release about the exercise. The exercise tests the National Guard's abilities to support response operations based on simulated emergency scenarios, such as a strong storm bringing high winds and the storm surge creating a collapsed building, mass casualties, and the need for search and rescue along with evacuations of injured.

The National Guard, along with local, state, and federal partners, was deployed to exercise venues at Volk Field and Fort McCoy to practice its response.

Lt. Col. Roger Brooks, exercise director for Patriot North, said Fort McCoy is an important part of the exercise.

"Fort McCoy provides our participants with outstanding training opportunities not available at other venues, especially the ability for landings and drops at Young Air Assault Strip and the Badger Drop Zone," Brooks said. "Additionally, the support we receive from (DPTMS) Range Control and all of the personnel at McCoy is second to none. Patriot North would not be as valuable without their support."