Fort McCoy News October 25, 2013

Range upgrades support realistic training

A number of improvements made or completed during fiscal year (FY) 2013 helped support a good year for training at Fort McCoy, according to staff at the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS).

The projects included the upgrade of a tactical airfield, the completion of an urban training complex and the addition of two upgraded ranges to support weapons firing.

Ed Carns, chief of the Fort McCoy DPTMS Training Division, said improvements at Young Air Assault Strip included the expansion of the taxiway and the addition of an apron area. This allowed the number of C-17 air cargo planes simultaneously using the ground facilities to increase from one to three aircraft, he said.

Other units with aircraft, both fixed wing and rotary wing, seeking training also are welcome to use the semi-improved and permanent runways available at Fort McCoy and other facilities, such as tactical and permanent fueling sites, to support their missions and training, he said.

The Combined Arms Collective Training Facility (CACTF), which was completed earlier this year, also supported urban combat training by a number of units, as well as FY 2013 exercises, he said.

Matthew Schwark, CACTF/Collective Training Facility manager, said the facility supported Army Reserve, National Guard, FBI and other law-enforcement personnel, as well as the various exercises. The facility offers numerous urban training opportunities.

Craig Meeusen, chief of the Training Coordinating Branch, said the CACTF is a good example of the training and technology improvements supporting training at Fort McCoy.

The CACTF's after-action review capability allows more flexibility in critiquing and reviewing training. Meeusen said that provides a different perspective to the training and more-realistic training for units accomplishing their missions and/or conducting premobilization training.

Mark Stelzner, Range scheduler, said the completion and opening of Range 18, a Known-Distance Range, will provide additional training support for Marines as the nearest Known-Distance Range is about an eight-hour drive from McCoy. The range was completed in early October and is available for scheduling, Stelzner said.

The range also will support training by all service members who need sniper and marksmanship training. Range users move up and down the range to change the target distance and to engage the targets. The range can support weapons ranging from M16s and M4s to sniper rifles up to .50 caliber.

The upgrade of Range 101, an Automated Record Fire Range, helps increase Fort McCoy's throughput capability for weapons firing and weapons qualification training and will help meet the demands of heavy training loads, Stelzner said. The project, which was completed earlier this year, upgraded pneumatic targets to more-reliable, hard-wired computer targetry.

(See related story.)