Jill L. Riggs, Triad
When I entered Fort McCoy, there was a sense of pride, and also
a sense of apprehension, as I reached the guards at the Main Gate for
the 100 percent I.D. check.
The place I've heard so much about from my husband also was
where my father was discharged in 1945 when he returned from Italy
during World War II.
My father didn't speak much about the time when he was in the
war. During the few times he did, I felt the pain and sadness through
his eyes. So, when I was young, I didn't dare ask about that time.
But, what I did learn from those few times, is that no one wins in
My father was a very strong-minded man. I've never seen him
The times he spoke of the war, and some of the things that
happened, there was a sense of pride along with that deep pain and
The pride I felt in my father's eyes is the same pride I felt
from the soldiers at Fort McCoy when I pulled up to the gate that day.
As I was met at the gate, the guards were very professional and
thorough, and at the same time, helpful. As I hadn't any idea (how to
get) where I was going, I was given a map along with instruction on
how to get there.
As I approached the building and parked to wait for my husband,
I observed soldiers in physical training, moving equipment, unloading
train cars, and working on paperwork. I watched in amazement as they
all worked as a team - from the smiles of accomplishment, to the pats
on the back for a job well done.
During my two-day stay, I stayed at the Pine View Recreation
Area. We visited Fort McCoy's Historical Center, the World War II
Commemorative Area and the Equipment Park, even though the buildings
The buildings told the history by themselves as we peeked in
through the windows. I was seeing through my father's eyes, as I felt
what he must have felt, and understood for the first time what I saw
I listened to Reveille in the morning, watched the Army
helicopters leave and return, and read up on Fort McCoy.
When I met my husband that next evening, he took me on the
driving tour, which has proved to me what a first-class establishment
Fort McCoy really is.
I stood with pride as I watched these United States soldiers
stop everything to salute when Retreat was played that evening.
Not only is there a sense of pride in these men and women
soldiers, there also is a sense of belonging with a respect and love
for each other and all others, so deeply close as brothers and
I used to live near an Army base. I was a visitor there, as
well. Not once did I see the dedication, respect and professionalism
to build a team like the units at Fort McCoy.
husband, Sgt. Russ Riggs, is a member of the 229th Engineer Company
from Prairie du Chien, Wis.
Sgt. Riggs trained at Fort McCoy from June 8-22.)