[ Triad Online Home ]                                                                                 September 28, 2007

New Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit to provide support to Fort McCoy

      Fort McCoy has entered into an agreement with the 630th Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) (EOD) of Fort Riley, Kan., for the unit to handle Fort McCoy's requirements to have ordnance and unexploded ordnance (UXO) removed from its ranges.

Photo: Personnel from the 630th Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) of Fort Riley, Kan., prepare ordnance for detonation at Fort McCoy Range 17A. (Photo by Rob Schuette)
Personnel from the 630th Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) of Fort Riley, Kan., prepare ordnance for detonation at Fort McCoy Range 17A. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

      The 630th will provide UXO mitigation as necessary, said Terry Hoff, Directorate of Emergency Services/Directorate of Plans, Training Mobilization and Security Range officer.

      For UXO that does not impede training, the 630th would respond when the installation has five to 10 items to mitigate. If it's determined an item would impede training, personnel from the 630th would respond immediately. Fort McCoy would provide explosives, transport and communications support, he said.

      Capt. Eric Schilling, the commander of the 630th, an active-duty Army unit, said the unit agreed to add Fort McCoy to its area of responsibility, which includes Kansas and neighboring states.

788th to leave after 
20 years of service

      The 788th Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) has been assigned to be restationed at Fort Campbell, Ky., from Fort McCoy as part of an Army Force Generation structure initiative.

      Soldiers from the 788th had the options of either PCS (permanent change of station) transfer to other units or TCS (temporary change of station) transfer to deploy. A small contingent of 788th Soldiers is at Fort McCoy waiting for orders. 

      The 788th first came to Fort McCoy Oct. 10, 1986 -- it was called the 88th Ordnance Detachment (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) at that time -- when it transferred from the Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant at New Brighton, Minn.

      In 1996, the unit was redesignated as a provisional company and gained full company status in June 1997 as the 788th Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal). 

      The unit's primary mission was to provide 24-hour emergency and routine disposal of military ammunition and improvised explosive devices.

      The 788th provided these services to five states in the Midwest area, which included services to military installations, civil and federal law enforcement agencies.

      Personnel from the 788th participated in two deployments during the unit's service at Fort McCoy.

      The unit supported the Bosnian peacekeeping mission during a six-month deployment from 2002-2003. Unit members also were deployed to support Operation Iraqi Freedom from July 2004-January 2005.

      "We will provide emergency response and remove ordnance that would impede training only at Fort McCoy as requested," Schilling said.

      1st Sgt. James Wise of the 630th said the Fort McCoy mission will give personnel from the 630th a chance to destroy military ordnance they don't often encounter.

      "This will provide us with good training opportunities and experience that we might not get otherwise," Wise said. "We also might deal with this type of ordnance on a larger scale if we deploy so we can use (the missions we conduct at Fort McCoy) to educate our personnel about what they would do in-theater."

      The 630th has assumed duties previously performed by the 788th Ordnance Company (Explosive Ordnance Disposal).

      Capt. Opal Hale, a former 788th commander, said the unit has been assigned to restation  at Fort Campbell, Ky., as part of an Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) structure initiative. The action is expected to be completed sometime in fiscal year 2008. Each major installation will have five brigade combat teams (BCT) and one EOD company assigned to each BCT under the ARFORGEN concept.

      "I think Fort McCoy was and would be a great location for an EOD asset," Hale said. "There are so many training opportunities here, and I believe we took advantage of most of them."

      "It was great working with the mobilizing units," she said. "That way they would know how EOD worked before they (arrived in-theater) and found out the undesirable way -- 'on the fly.' The Army is changing, and we have to change with it in order to keep up with the operations tempo."

      Hoff said that personnel who encounter UXO or ordnance out in training areas or out in the field at Fort McCoy during the upcoming hunting season should call the Range Operations radio room at (608) 388-4848 to report it.

      Units training in the field also can contact Range Operations via radio to address these concerns, he said.

      Range personnel will mark the UXO until the 630th personnel can respond, Hoff said.


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