By Rob Schuette, Triad Staff
The Wisconsin Military Academy (WMA), building 90, has opened a
new Battle Simulation Center at its Fort McCoy facility.
Sgt. 1st Class
Christopher Donovan, the Field Artillery Battalion Operations
noncommissioned officer (NCO) for the Wisconsin Regional Training
Institute (WI RTI) (426th Regiment), said the WMA Simulation Center
includes a completely networked, closed-loop artillery simulation
Sgt. 1st Class Christopher
Donovan (right) goes over battle scenarios with students in a
field artillery fire support class at the WMA Simulation Center.
(Photo by Rob Schuette)
This includes a howitzer crew trainer (HCT), a call for fire
trainer (CFFT), an advanced field artillery tactical data system
(AFATDS) and a Force XXI (21) Battle Command, Brigade-and-Below
Fort Sill, Okla., the proponent school for field artillery
training, has a Joint Fires and Effects Battle Lab, which has many of
the same or similar systems, he said.
Donovan said, however, the WMA facility is the only facility in
the Army that has the HCT, CFFT, AFATDS and the FBCB2 under the same
roof. Other facilities have the same simulations, but they are not
under the same roof and are not networked together, he added.
"The (WMA) facility will make available the most recent
advances in Field Artillery Digital and Simulation training," he
said. "Our ability to network the systems together will broaden
the understanding of Soldiers who attend field artillery courses by
allowing them to train with other MOSes (military occupational
specialty). Through networking the systems we're able to better
illustrate the interoperability and coordination requirements between
the different teams of the field artillery."
"The primary purpose of our facility is to train Soldiers
attending the WI RTI Field Artillery Courses," Donovan said.
"It also is designed to support Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers
Sgt. 1st Class Christopher
Donovan (second from right) explains the workings of a
Lightweight Laser Designator range Finder to a student during
call for fire support training at the WMA Simulation Center.
(Photo by Rob Schuette)
One of the first courses to use the new facility included
students in an Advanced NCO Course (ANCOC) for field artillery fire
support personnel (13F40) and a Basic NCO Course (BNCOC) for field
artillery fire support personnel (13F30), Donovan said.
Sgt. 1st Class Andrew P. Glatz of the Headquarters and
Headquarters Troop, 102nd Cavalry (Reconnaissance Surveillance and
Target Acquisition) of Westfield, N.J., said the course and training
in the facility helped him complete the ANCOC requirement for the
13F40 Fire Support NCO.
"(The Battle Simulation Center) added the controlled chaos
that is true in all operation centers during any and all combat
operations," Glatz said. "This military course was the most
in-depth training in my MOS I have ever done in my 16 years in the
The WMA Simulation Center primarily will be used for MOS
qualified and Noncommissioned Officer Education System (NCOES) field
artillery training, Donovan said.
Staff Sgt. Craig Cook of Detachment 1, Headquarters and
Headquarters Service of the 1st, 120th Field Artillery of Wisconsin
Rapids, Wis., said he took the course to complete his 13F BNCOC
"Having been deployed down range twice and being able to
get the training that the WMA Field Artillery Branch offers is
something that you can use to help you perform your job while at
annual training or for your future deployment in-theater," Cook
said. "It is cutting edge digital training that allows the Army
National Guard to stay on top with the active component
The JANUS (Joint Analog-Numerical Understanding System)
exercise offered during the training allowed Cook to prepare, plan,
rehearse, and then see the plan executed on the battlefield. Cook said
it was the next best training to actually being put into a combat
Sgt. 1st Class Brian Kerr of Detachment 1 of the 1st, 143rd
Field Artillery of Concord, Calif., said the training allowed him to
meet an NCOES requirement while providing him with personal enrichment
and career development training.
"This is the first time I have seen JANUS interact with
the Blue Force Tracker (FBCB2) and the CFFT," Kerr said.
"This is an important step in the evolution of digital simulation
"The integration of the FBCB2 allows us to see
the same Common Operating Picture that Tactical Operations
Centers in most theaters already are seeing; this allows the training
a realistic feel," he said.
"The implementation of CFFT into the exercise is crucial
because it bridges the planner to executor gap that always is
difficult to relay not only in real time, but to relay through actual
eyes and actual reporting, instead of a generated template."
The CFFT also allows the students to experience Soldier action,
reaction and counteraction in real time, he said.
If the facility isn't being used to support field artillery
courses or Wisconsin National Guard Soldiers, it also can be used to
support the needs of active-component or Reserve units or other
governmental agencies, Donovan said.
That would include helping Fort McCoy meet an increased
training requirement, such as for mobilizing troops, that couldn't be
met with the current simulation facilities, he said.
While the Engagement Skills Trainer systems in the Fort McCoy
simulation facilities are used to train squad tactics using rifles and
other individual and crew-served weapons, the WMA Battle Simulation
Center CFFT is used to train field artillery forward observers in
tasks, such as call for fire using mortars, field artillery or Naval
gunfire or for close air support.
"Each room also can be used independently as a classroom
and has network capability to support any Battlefield Operating
System," Donovan said. "Units could bring in a maneuver
control system or an FBCB2 and train large numbers of Soldiers using
the existing network."
The installation uses its FBCB2 to support mobilizing Soldiers,
The WMA Simulation Center FBCB2 is used to conduct the course
requirements the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) put on the
technical phase of the Basic NCO Course in the artillery 30-level
The 426th Regiment will host
an open house during the Wisconsin Army National Guard's Governor's
Day in June.
For details, contact Donovan at (608) 388-9961 or e-mail
Training at the WMA Simulation Center can be arranged through
sending Soldiers to MOSQ or NCOES courses, or by contacting WMA
Facilities Management for unit training at (608) 388-9907 or via
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.