Fort McCoy News Dec. 8, 2017

1950s-era veterans visit Fort McCoy

Three Army veterans of the 355th Chemical Smoke Generator Company visited Fort McCoy on Nov. 17 to see where they once worked, trained, and operated as Soldiers in the early 1950s.

The three Korean War-era veterans who visited the Fort McCoy Commemorative Area, History Center, and areas they remembered from when they served at the installation.

Maurice Van Coillie, John Bucknell, and William Ebner, veterans of the 355th Chemical Smoke Generator Company, look at building 1425 on Nov. 17 where they lived in 1950-1951 as young Soldiers.
Maurice Van Coillie, John Bucknell, and William Ebner, veterans
of the 355th Chemical Smoke Generator Company, look at
building 1425 on Nov. 17 where they lived in 1950-1951 as
young Soldiers.
Photo by Theresa Fitzgerald

All members of the unit were either from Wisconsin or Michigan, so they had that in common, said William Ebner of Cameron, Wis., one of the veterans.

In addition to Ebner, Maurice Van Coillie of Saint Clair Shores, Mich., and John Bucknell of New Hudson, Mich., also visited. One of the highlights of their visit, Ebner said, was visiting building 1425, a barracks they lived in from 1950-51.

The visitors also walked down M Street where their barracks was located and had their pictures taken front of the barracks building.

"We took them to the History Center so they could see some of what we had on display from the time they served here," said Public Affairs Specialist Theresa Fitzgerald with the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office. "I also drove them around post so they could see some of the changes since they were last here. One thing they really wanted to see was the railroad tracks because when they first arrived at then-Camp McCoy, they arrived by train."

In 1950, Camp McCoy served as a major training center for the Fifth Army, according to post history. The installation was activated as a mobilization site in August 1950 just after the Korean War began.

The camp then served as the site where approximately 19,000 Soldiers were trained and mobilized that first year.

   (Article prepared by the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office.)