[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                               September 26, 2008
Training

Wisconsin Military Academy celebrates 
50 years, with past 13 years at McCoy

By Rob Schuette, The Real McCoy Staff

The Wisconsin Military Academy (WMA) of the Wisconsin National Guard is celebrating its 50th anniversary as an organization, with the organization being located at Fort McCoy for the past 13 years of its existence.

Photo: Col. Kenneth Koon the 426th Regiment (Regional Training Institution) commander speaks at the OCS graduation ceremonies. (Photo by Herb Dowell)
Col. Kenneth Koon the 426th Regiment (Regional Training Institution) commander speaks at the OCS graduation ceremonies. (Photo by Herb Dowell)

An anniversary celebration event at the WMA included the commissioning of second lieutenants, the appointments of the WMAís first warrant officer course graduates and the induction of three personnel to the WMAís Hall of Fame.

Sgt. 1st Class Margaret Diehl, 426th Regiment (Regional Training Institution) Human Resource NCO, said the WMA originated as an officer candidate school in 1958. During its 50 years of existence, it has graduated more than 1,700 officers.

Officers can attend a traditional course, which is spread out over 18 months, and occurs main-ly at the WMA. Diehl said those who need to go through the course quicker can take an accelerated course, which includes eight consecutive weeks of training in Alabama. Candidates from both courses are commissioned at Fort McCoy.

Photo: Members of the the audience wait for the start of Officer Candidate Graduation ceremonies, 23 August 08, at the Wisconsin Military Academy, Fort McCoy, WI. Publication or commercial use of this material requires a release by a U.S. Army public affairs officer. (Photo by Herb Dowell) (The Real McCoy Extra)
Members of the the audience wait for the start of
Officer Candidate Graduation ceremonies, 23 August 08,
at the Wisconsin Military Academy, Fort McCoy, WI.
Publication or commercial use of this material requires a
release by a U.S. Army public affairs officer.
(Photo by Herb Dowell) (The Real McCoy Extra)

"The WMA has added a number of courses throughout the years," Diehl said. "These include Field Artillery training, NCOES (Noncommissioned Officer Education System) courses, Officer Candidate School (OCS), Warrant Officer Candidate School (WOCS), and a variety of other courses."

The 426th Regimentís two battalions conduct the training at the WMA.

The Field Artillery Battalion consists of Military Occupational Skill Qualification (MOSQ) and NCOES companies that conduct the field artillery training for 13B, 13D, 13F, 13M and 13P.

The Modular Training Battalion consists of MOSQ, NCOES and OCS/WOCS companies that conduct such training as 11B (infantry skills), 88M (truck driving), Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course (BNCOC) Phase I, combat lifesaver and fitness improvement training.

Although the WMA is operated by the Wisconsin National Guard, its courses and training are open to personnel from the Armyís three components ó National Guard, Reserve and active duty.

Photo: 2nd Lt. Christine N. Kramer kneels as her children pin on her new rank during the Officer Candidate School graduation ceremony. (Photo by Herb Dowell)
2nd Lt. Christine N. Kramer kneels as her children pin on her new rank during the Officer Candidate School graduation ceremony. (Photo by Herb Dowell)

The WMA keeps up-to-date with technology, as well, with the opening of its new simulation wing in 2007, Diehl said. The organization also has offered this training to other organizations, such as the Fort McCoy NCO Academy, to support their training needs.

Other highlights of 2007 included a busy year from the Field Artillery side. Seven live-fire exercises were held, with firing including the self-propelled Paladin howitzer and several units with towed howitzers.

The WMA is a nationally recognized leader in Field Artillery training and is the only Army National Guard Field Artillery Training Battalion to gain the designation of "Center of Excellence" by the Army.

Only Fort Sill, Okla., an active-duty Army installation that is home to the Armyís Field Artillery School, trains more Soldiers in Field Artillery than the WMA does.

"The 426th (WMA) has had a very good relationship with Fort McCoy since it dedicated its present building on the installation in September 1995," Diehl said. "We are looking forward to continuing that relationship in future years."

The WMA is planning another busy training year in 2009, Diehl said. The facility also allows other organizations to use its facilities, including classrooms and large meeting areas such as Dailey Hall, to support their events when possible and when it doesnít conflict with WMA training needs.

Personnel who want more information about WMA courses can call the organization at (608) 388-9900 or visit the Army Training Requirements and Resources System Web site to see what courses are being offered.

 

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