[ Triad Online Home ]                                                                                       October 28, 2005
News

FY 05 training total surpass 102,000

By Rob Schuette, Triad Staff

      More than 20 new units trained at Fort McCoy during fiscal year (FY) 2005, a trend Fort McCoy officials hope will help offset a decline in the total training numbers, which mainly was due to units being deployed and then demobilized.

Photo: Soldiers from the 863rd Engineer Battalion, an Army Reserve unit from the Chicago, Ill., area, perform a platoon defense drill at Range 2, the Multi-Purpose Machine Gun Range. (File photo)
Soldiers from the 863rd Engineer Battalion, an Army Reserve unit from the Chicago , Ill. , area, perform a platoon defense drill at Range 2, the Multi-Purpose Machine Gun Range. (File photo)

      A total of 102,191 personnel trained at Fort McCoy in FY 2005, which ran from Oct. 1, 2004-Sept. 30, 2005. The totals included 56,070 personnel for extended combat (EC) training, which included mobilization numbers, and 46,121 for battle assemblies (BA). The installation reported training totals of 127,608 for FY 2004, which included 48,164 personnel for EC training and 79,444 personnel for BA training.

      The 24 new customers included four Army National Guard units, four U.S. Army Reserve units, nine Air Force units, three U.S. Marine Corps units, two Canadian units: one Brigade Combat Team and one Air Force squadron.

      "The customer groups who historically have been supported by Fort McCoy have not stopped coming to Fort McCoy," said Gene Nall, chief of the Range and Training Division for the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security. "However, those units that came in FY 2005 (often) brought a smaller number of customers due to mobilizations."

      Mobilizations often had other multiplier effects on training at Fort McCoy because when these units mobilized and deployed -- either at Fort McCoy or other locations -- and served a tour to support the Global War on Terrorism they didn't conduct EC or BA training at McCoy. Additionally, Nall said when these units were demobilized they often came back in the spring, which meant they also didn't come to Fort McCoy for an EC or BA training during the peak training times.

      Another factor in the decrease of Soldiers training at Fort McCoy occurred because of the deactivation of the 6015th Garrison Support Unit in its mobilization support role at Fort McCoy. Many of these Soldiers had reached the two-year limit they could serve under the presidential call up and were released from active duty, Nall said.

      Even though the unit was deactivated, the mobilization support mission continued. The 6015th Soldiers were replaced by contracted personnel, hired through a Base Augmentation Support Services contract.

      During FY 05, the installation continued to provide training support whenever it could, Nall said.

      The new units came to Fort McCoy because the installation's state-of-the-art training facilities met their needs, and the customer-first attitude of the installation's work force enabled the units to obtain all needed support. Nall said these units required little or no additional facility assets from Fort McCoy to support this training.

      Fort McCoy, unlike some of the other power-projection platforms, allowed all units that wished to train at the installation to schedule facilities, with mobilization training getting priority when necessary, he said.

      This, hopefully, will allow Fort McCoy to retain the training of these units in the future and sustain its training base when the mobilization missions wind down.

      "Some of these customers are planning to return to Fort McCoy in the upcoming years because of their experience when they were here," Nall said. "The National Guard Global Patriot exercise will return in FY 06 and the Canadian Brigade Combat Team will be returning for at least the next three years with more personnel (the infantry units having gone to Fort Drum, N.Y., for this fiscal year (FY 05) training.)"

      One of the biggest factors in encouraging military personnel to train at Fort McCoy has been word-of-mouth advertising from units that trained here, he said. Fort McCoy also plans to use marketing efforts, including attending scheduling conferences for the U.S. Army Reserve Command, First Army and Fifth Army this year, to attract military training to Fort McCoy. The scheduling conferences were canceled last fiscal year because of mobilization operations tempo.

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