Fort McCoy News Sept. 22, 2017

Marines complete

live-fire battle-drill training at McCoy

STORY & PHOTOS BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

More than 140 Marines and Sailors with the 3rd Civil Affairs Group (CAG) of Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill., completed nearly three days of battle-drill training at Fort McCoy in early September, including live-fire marksmanship exercises.

In addition to live-fire training, the Marines completed training in chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense and on the Fort McCoy Humvee Egress Assistance Trainer, said Lt. Col. Kevin Conant, inspector-instructor for the 3rd CAG.

Marines with the 3rd Civil Affairs Group of Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill., complete live-fire training on North Post on Sept. 8.
Marines with the 3rd Civil Affairs Group of Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill.,
complete live-fire training on North Post on Sept. 8.


A Marine with the 3rd Civil Affairs Group fires an M4 rifle at a target during live-fire shooting Sept. 8 at a range on Fort McCoy’s North Post.
A Marine with the 3rd Civil Affairs Group fires an M4 rifle at a target
during live-fire shooting Sept. 8 at a range on Fort McCoy's North Post.


After shooting several rounds, Marines check their targets and score them as part of the marksmanship training Sept. 8 on a live-fire range on North Post.
After shooting several rounds, Marines check their targets and score
them as part of the marksmanship training Sept. 8 on a live-fire range
on North Post.

"We were able to get a significant amount of our unit trained in the specific tasks we had planned," Conant said. "Most important was completing the live-fire marksmanship in accordance with the Marine Corps Combat Marksmanship Program, specifically tables 3 through 6."

During their visit, 3rd CAG members bivouacked at a range on North Post. Lt. Col. Scott Morrison, the 3rd CAG's executive officer, said the idea is to train the way they would fight.

"Every Marine is a rifleman, and we want to be as close to the action as possible," Morrison said. "We also always want to make a light footprint while at the same time being as expeditionary as possible. Our Marines all come out here with the gear they are issued, which is the main rucksack and a patrol pack. That's what they would deploy with and that's what they come here with."

Conant said all of their training practices reflect the same kind of training the unit would complete if called for a deployment.
"When we get ready to deploy, this is a lot of the same types of training that we will do," Conant said. "We're getting it done because we want to ensure we have the ability to fight tonight, and we are taking advantage of the time to do it now."

Civil-affairs Marines serve as a critical link between local civilians and military units that operate in their countries, Conant said. Operations in the counterinsurgency environments of Iraq and Afghanistan relied heavily on civil affairs teams for missions like helping civilian populations build infrastructure. And the Marine Corps' civil affairs capability, which resides exclusively in the Marine Corps Reserve, will continue to be in high demand.

"We focus on the civil component within the battlespace so that the warfighting commander can focus on fighting the battle. Desired result is to increase blue and decrease red," Conant said.

"So that's why we constantly train to always be ready support our unique mission."

This training visit was the third time the unit trained at Fort McCoy in 2017. In February, Morrison said the unit held civil-affairs scenario training at the Combined Arms Collective Training Facility on South Post. In June, unit members were on post to train on marksmanship in the first two Marine Corps gunnery tables.

Conant said the unit always receives great support when they come to Fort McCoy.

"We are really appreciative of the support we get from the Fort McCoy staff, including from Range Control, logistical support (offices), and others," Conant said. "Even though it's almost a four-hour drive to get here, when we are here, it's time well spent to get our training completed. The benefit our Marines gain from training here is worth every bit of time it takes to travel such distance."

Morrison added, "We will keep coming here because this is a great place with great facilities."