Fort McCoy News July 26, 2013


(Editor's note: "SPOTLIGHT" is a continuing series about tenant activities and missions at Fort McCoy.)

What is it?

The 86th Training Division (TD) — the Blackhawk Division — at Fort McCoy, Wis., is a premier organization that assists, trains, and assesses unit readiness. The 86th TD has approximately 760 Soldiers, including the 2nd Brigade and 3rd Battalion, 329th Regiment in Milwaukee. The 86th TD is one of three training divisions in the U.S. under the leadership of the 84th Training Command at Fort Knox, Ky.

Photo for 86th article
Army Reserve medics react to a simulated chemical attack during the 2012
Warrior Exercise at Fort McCoy. The exercise presented realistic and
challenging scenario-based training for more than 5,000 Soldiers and their
units preparing for deployment.
File photo by Spc. Alyssa Blom

The 86th TD provides training to joint, combined and active-Army forces. The 86th TD constructs, coordinates, and executes meaningful and challenging Warrior Exercise (WAREX), and Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX) opportunities. These exercises generate commander-specific capabilities in an interactive training environment that fits the Army Force Generation model and prepares Soldiers, units, and staffs to execute specified wartime missions to Army standards.

The history of the 86th TD dates to 1917 when it was an Infantry Division in Illinois. Many of its original personnel were from the upper Midwest and included Sac and Fox Indians. The Sac Leader MA-KA-TAI-ME-SHE-KIA-KIAK, or "Blackhawk," led the group in resisting settlers along the upper Mississippi in the Black Hawk War of 1832. The 86th TD then was dubbed the "Blackhawk Division."

The Blackhawk Division continued service through World War I, when it was deactivated. It was reactivated in 1942 for a combat tour throughout Europe. By April 1945, the unit spearheaded Gen. George S. Patton's 3rd Army into Germany. In World War II, the Blackhawks also performed duty in the Philippine Islands. They were inactivated in 1946 and re-organized in 1967 as the 86th U.S. Army Reserve Command, which existed through the mid-1990s.

On Sept. 16, 2009, the Blackhawks were activated at Fort McCoy as the 86th Training Brigade and were re-designated as the 86th Training Division one year later.

What have they done?

In the past three years, the 86th TD supported the 78th TD of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J. in organizing WAREXs and CSTXs.

Each year, they trained, assessed and certified more than 4,000 Soldiers on collective mission-essential tasks of all types and military specialties in a tactical environment.

What do they have planned?

This marks the first year the 86th TD is directing both the WAREX and CSTX, with support from First Army, Medical Readiness Training Command, Army Medical Command, 75th Training Command and Fort McCoy entities.

Throughout July and August, they will train more than 10,600 Army Soldiers from more than 60 different units. That makes the WAREX and CSTX the largest exercises on Fort McCoy.

The 86th TD has a WAREX and CSTX scheduled for fiscal year 2014.

Why are they important?

The 86th TD conducts the WAREX and CSTX through live, virtual, and constructive techniques to ensure all participating units achieve proficiency in their mission-essential tasks. To accomplish this, the 86th TD strives to provide a combat training center-like exercise in an austere environment, which doesn't have existing equipment and built up forward operating bases as in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The vision of 86th TD Commanding General Brig. Gen. George R. Thompson is to ensure each unit participating in the exercises receives the optimal conditions to execute their training objectives in preparation for future deployments in support of ongoing overseas contingency operations.

Whether units participate in the WAREX or CSTX, the 86th TD's goal is the same: "We aim to serve."


For more information about the 86th Training Division, visit their Facebook page at; Flickr; or Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS)

   (Submitted by the 86th Training Division Public Affairs Office.)