The Real McCoy Online, Fort McCoy, Wisconsin

Fort McCoy News August 10, 2018

This month in Fort McCoy history

75 years ago — Aug. 7, 1943

Camp McCoy added a male switchboard operator, in addition to its staff of 23 women, to put through calls within the camp and to the outside world.

The phone system was maintained and staffed by the Monroe County Telephone Co.; the camp exchange was a private branch exchange. It handled all calls within the camp as well as putting through calls from Post Exchange and Service Club pay stations.

   (Editor’s note: A section of the old switchboard, which was used until the installation switched to fiber optics in the 1990s, is on display at the Commemorative Area.)

60 Years Ago — Aug. 20, 1958

Gen. Bruce B. Clarke, new commanding general of the U. S. Continental Army Command at Fort Monroe, Va., made a brief visit to Camp McCoy on Aug. 20, 1958. His visit was part of a tour of four summer training encampments in the Fifth U. S. Army area.

Troops march on the parade field at then-Camp McCoy as part of a troop
review in August 1959.
U.S. Army file photo

Also on his tour schedule, which began Aug. 15, were Fort Carson, Colo.; Camp Grayling, Mich.; and Camp Ripley, Minn. During his visit at Camp McCoy, he conferred with post officials and visited the 103rd Infantry Division (Reserve) from Minnesota and Iowa.

50 Years Ago — August 1968

The 131st Direct Support Squadron from St. Louis was one of the many Air Force units that trained at Camp McCoy during the summer of 1968. The 131st’s job was to coordinate between the men on the ground and those in the air prior and during an air strike. An airstrike is called when a ground unit commander encounters a force that is unmovable with the facilities that he has in his command. The commander asks for an airstrike from the 131st or a similar unit. The 131st calls out the aircrews at their constant command and sends jets scrambling into the air. It is then the responsibility of the pilots to destroy the obstacle and free the ground troops.

Joining the 131st’s support were Navy aircraft, which few many missions with 131st in the two weeks at Camp McCoy. Missions such as these were often vital to the success of the Infantry’s mission and were used widely in Vietnam.

20 Years Ago — August 1988

A nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) training exercise was completed by 500 Marine and Navy Reservists representing 51 units from 29 states. This group was the 1st Provisional NBC Battalion, 4th Marine Division. Completing the exercise was the battalion’s sole annual training mission that year. A provisional battalion is formed for specific training. This was historic training for the Marine Corps as it had never been done before on the battalion level.

20 Years Ago — August 1998

A new 18-hole miniature golf course opened for business at Fort McCoy’s Pine View Recreation Area. The new contoured concrete course compared to what they would find at a similar commercial course. About 300 yards of fill soil was added to build up the elevation, allowing the course to have changing elevations and curves to make it more challenging for adults and children. The landscaping also allowed one hole to have three different levels of playing surface for patrons.

The concrete was covered by an outdoor carpet putting surface. Concrete walkways were installed to connect the holes so patrons will be more comfortable moving from hole to hole. The course had boulders, wooden posts, artificial logs that offer openings to play through, and sand-trap hazards. New rubber-plated putters and golf balls also were included in the project.

   (Editor’s Note: The miniature golf course was renovated again in summer 2018, reopening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in late July.)

10 Years Ago — Aug. 22, 2008

Fort McCoy Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) employee Melinda Johnson returned from duty supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Johnson spent six months in Balad, Iraq, helping keep up the morale of U.S. troops. During her time in Iraq, she worked as an assistant manager at an AAFES Post Exchange at Logistics Support Area Anaconda. Johnson was a sales associate in the Military Clothing Sales Store at Fort McCoy.