Demobilization activity to increase at Wisconsin installation
July 29, 2009
By Tom Michele
FORT MCCOY, Wisc. (Army News Service, July 29, 2009) -- The beehive of activity in Fort McCoy's "Mob Alley" will be swarming much more than normal from mid-July to early-September.
"Two brigade combat teams will go through the five-day demobilization process at Fort McCoy almost simultaneously," said Col. Basa Oskam, the deputy for mobilization. "We will be extremely busy with about 6,000 Soldiers demobilizing all while we will be mobilizing about 1,500 Soldiers."
The two BCTs are the 81st BCT, which comprises most of the Washington Army National Guard, plus several units from the California National Guard, and the 33rd BCT of the Illinois Army National Guard.
The demobilizing Soldiers will come to McCoy mostly in company-sized units spread across an eight-week period. That way the entire BCT will not jam the area in the same five-day time frame.
Oskam said preparations for this larger-than-normal influx of Soldiers includes bringing in more medical and dental personnel and equipment to supplement the current staff. Other areas will also see increased business, including the Soldier Readiness Center, Mobilization Unit Inprocessing Center and Central Issue Facility.
Personnel from the state home stations also will come to McCoy to help with the demobilization effort.
The Army and Air Force Exchange Service and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Office are "ramping up their stock of items Soldiers didn't have available to them in Iraq, so the Soldiers will enjoy their first days back on U.S. soil," Oskam said.
Fort McCoy has recently been renovating barracks, so there's fewer buildings available where Soldiers can stay during demobilization, Oskam said.
"We are micro-managing bed-space," Oskam said. "With the additional stimulus funding this year for barracks and administration building renovation, we took several buildings off-line to be rehabilitated."
Nevertheless, Oskam said Fort McCoy prides itself for having more than the adequate number of beds available, in specifically renovated barracks.
"All of this effort is recognized by First Army, Forces Command and U. S. Army Reserve Command for Fort McCoy being a premier mobilization training center," Oskam said. "That is all enhanced by the renovations, quality work force and the reputation of the service we have provided in recent years."
Oskam said the excellent support provided by Fort McCoy makes units want to come back after deployment.
"I hear from units in-theater, that mobilized here, that they want to demobilize at Fort McCoy because we are user friendly," Oskam said. "It is a team effort of the 181st Infantry Brigade and the garrison that provides the great quality of service to the Soldier, Army and country."
(Tom Michele is a contributor to The Real McCoy, the newspaper at Fort McCoy, Wisc.)