Fort McCoy News Sept. 22, 2017

This month in Fort McCoy history

50 Years Ago — circa September 1967

The Real McCoy produced a 25-page anniversary edition celebrating the 25th anniversary of the cantonment area featuring articles from two of Maj. Gen. Robert B. McCoy's sons.

Retired Lt. Col. Douglas D. McCoy said, "Upon my return to Sparta, this was in early 1948, I was greeted by my friends with the statement that I would be hopelessly lost upon my first visit to the new Camp McCoy."

Retired Col. Robert C. McCoy, describing Camp McCoy in the 1940s, said, "It was a regular beehive of activity. … Every summer from about May until September it was a busy place, troops coming out for two-week periods, training, moving out and other units coming in."

Soldiers at Fort McCoy for training 39 years ago in fall 1978 navigate a tank through a water hole at an installation training area.
Soldiers at Fort McCoy for training 39 years ago in fall
1978 navigate a tank through a water hole at an
installation training area.
File photo

30 Years Ago — Sept. 11, 1987

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house was held at the new Wisconsin State Patrol Academy to showcase the facility.
Wisconsin Gov. Tommy G. Thompson was the keynote speaker; Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. Bill Sorenson was also among those who addressed the group.

The $6.3 million project was completed in two phases. Phase I consisted of three dormitories with a total of 74 double-occupancy rooms, six guest rooms, four student lounges, and a dining facility. Phase II consisted of administrative offices, four classrooms with a total capacity of 150 people, a multi-purpose room, a student commons, a project room for telecommunication training, a library and learning center, a six-lane indoor firing range, two counseling rooms, a computer room, and storage areas.

The Wisconsin State Patrol Academy is the longest-serving tenant organization on the installation.

20 Years Ago — Sept. 19, 1997

Richard Utecht, a former government civilian Prisoner of War (POW) in Vietnam, told his story during the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Recognition Day ceremony at Fort McCoy.

Utecht served in the military from 1942-66. After his retirement, he accepted a job with the U.S. State Department Foreign Service branch as a mechanic in Vietnam.

On Feb. 4, 1968 he was captured by the North Vietnamese and held for more than five years. Utecht was among an estimated five to 10 civilians held captive, spending most of the time, about 3 1/2 years, in Cambodia.

Utecht said his military training helped him survive the time in captivity. In 1973, the Paris Peace Accords produced the agreement that freed Utecht and many other American prisoners.

National Prisoner of War/Missing in Action (POW/MIA) Recognition Day is the third Friday in September.

10 Years Ago — Sept. 29, 2007

A ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony of the new Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) Academy facility was held Sept. 29.
The NCO Academy was dedicated and named after Staff Sgt. Todd R. Cornell, an Army Reserve Soldier from Menomonee Falls, Wis., who was killed while serving in Iraq in 2004.

Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Mark James, who served with Cornell in Iraq, was the guest speaker at the ceremony. Other guest speakers included Col. Derek J. Sentinella, Fort McCoy garrison commander; Maj. Gen. William C. Kirkland, 84th Training Command (Leader Readiness) commanding general; and Jose Leon, a representative from Sen. Herb Kohl's office.

   (Article prepared from The Real McCoy and Triad archives.)