Fort McCoy News February 9, 2018

Operation Cold Steel II set to start training crews

at Fort McCoy

STORY & PHOTO BY STAFF SGT. DEBRALEE BEST
Operation Cold Steel II Public Affairs

Operation Cold Steel (OCS) II begins operations at Fort McCoy on Feb. 19. Task Force Triad, hosted by the 416th Theater Engineer Command, will conduct training at Fort McCoy from Feb. 19 to May 31 for OCS II. More than 3,000 Soldiers are expected to attend this mounted crew-served weapons qualification training.

OCS II's Task Force Bullion, hosted by the 377th Theater Sustainment Command, will provide ground qualification at Fort Knox, Ky., from March 1 to May 13 for approximately 3,400 Soldiers.

Staff Sgt. Jason Kelly with 366th Engineer Company, 412th Theater Engineer Command, receives ammunition for zero firing in preparation for completion of live-fire qualification during Operation Cold Steel at Fort McCoy in March 2017.
Staff Sgt. Jason Kelly with 366th Engineer Company, 412th Theater
Engineer Command, receives ammunition for zero firing in preparation
for completion of live-fire qualification during Operation Cold Steel at
Fort McCoy in March 2017.

The first iteration of OCS II spanned two months from Oct. 12 to Dec. 15 at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. During that time, the 79th Theater Support Command (TSC) hosted Task Force Coyote, training approximately 2,000 Soldiers on crew-served weapons, including the M2 machine gun, M249 light machine gun, M240B machine gun, and MK-19 40-millimeter grenade machine gun.
Soldiers training in this iteration focused on ground qualification, expending more than 1.2 million rounds of ammunition.

This second iteration of OCS II at Fort McCoy focuses on mounted gunnery operations with the same crew-served weapon systems, planners said. It will mirror the first OCS, held in March and April 2017, also at Fort McCoy.

In 2017, an estimated 1,800 Army Reserve Soldiers from approximately 60 Army Reserve units trained in the inaugural OCS, which was hosted by 84th Training Command.

The purpose of OCS in 2017 was to create a more deployable, combat-ready, and lethal fighting force within the Army Reserve by training and qualifying participating units on the crew-served weapons within the Army arsenal. That will continue.

"Cold Steel benefits the (unit Soldiers) by training them and giving them an experience that they most likely have never had in the Army Reserve or even in the history of the Army Reserve," said Command Sgt. Maj. Freddy Trejo, Task Force Triad senior enlisted adviser for Operation Cold Steel II.

"We're putting weapons in their hands, getting them qualified, increasing their confidence as Army Reserve Soldiers, and we are sending crews back to units completely qualified and trained."

In addition to crew-served weapons qualification, an estimated 250 Soldiers are training as vehicle crew evaluators. Newly trained Army Reserve Master Gunner Common Core graduates are teaming with seasoned active-component master gunners to conduct gunnery autonomously at the unit level.

During OCS II at Fort McCoy, Army Reserve Soldiers will train and qualify on the MK-19, M240B, M2 and M249 platforms mounted to various military vehicles, including Humvees, Medium Tactical Vehicles, Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks, and Heavy Equipment Transports.

Approximately 50 crews from Task Force Triad also will travel to Fort Knox after completing gunnery table IV, or individual crew convoy protection platform qualification, to participate in a bridge combat support training exercise (CSTX). Upon completion of the CSTX, these crews will complete gunnery table III, a sectional gunnery of two to five protection platforms.

"Operation Cold Steel is designed to train Soldiers on a way to effectively acquire and engage targets on a mounted platform," said Staff Sgt. David Jenkins, operations noncommissioned officer for Task Force Cold Steel II. "This is something that has not been trained on in the Army Reserve in a while other than during (pre-mobilization).

"From the operations at Fort McCoy conducting gate IV, they can effectively go on to (situational training exercise) lanes and ... conduct the convoy live-fire exercise," Jenkins said.

"Completing these gates will make the transition to mobilizing a little faster. This will make our units a better equipped and ready force."