Members of the 229th Engineer Company weren't bothered by the
cold late-February temperature as they prepared to fire at Fort
McCoy's Range 34, a state-of-the-art Multipurpose Machine-Gun Range.
The Wisconsin Army National Guard company out of Platteville
and Prairie du Chien is conducting mobilization training at Fort
from the 229th Engineer Company prepare to fire at Range 34, a
Multipurpose Machine-Gun Range. (Photo
by Rob Schuette)
Unit personnel were training with squad automatic weapons
(SAW). Some new SAW
gunners were on the sight-in or zeroing firing lines. Others were familiar with the weapons and the mobilization
procedure because they went through Operations Desert Shield/Storm
more than a decade ago.
The personnel usually qualify yearly with the weapons so this
training was good refresher training and ensured the weapons were in
good firing condition, said Staff Sgt. Kevin Menne, the 229th
Readiness NCO, who is a Desert Storm veteran.
"We have a number of personnel who are veterans from
Desert Storm who are sharing their knowledge of mobilization with the
less-experienced soldiers and telling them what to expect," Menne
Sgt. Greg Allen, a Heavy Equipment operator, said unit members
are doing a lot of common task training.
Unit personnel went through the Combat Life Saver Course and
Nuclear, Biological and Chemical training, for example, Allen said.
Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Stecklein, a platoon sergeant, said the
unit members received a lot of in-depth training.
The personnel who hadn't been at Fort McCoy for a while or were
coming for the first time appreciated the installation's modernized
ranges, which include pop-up targets, he said.
"This range gives more realistic training to the SAW
gunners than we could get here before," he said.
Spc. Stanley Wendel, a member of the ammunition detail, said
the training was much like the unit's annual training sessions at Fort
The unit also used the M-16 ranges and land navigation courses
to fine-tune their skills, he said.