Fort McCoy ready to support large-scale training exercises
March 11, 2011
FORT McCOY, Wis. -- Seven scheduled exercises and other extended combat training are on tap for the remainder of fiscal year 2011 at Fort McCoy.
Fort McCoy Training Scheduler Mark Stelzner said training will be conducted by Air Force, Marines, Navy and Army Reserve personnel.
All of the major, large-scale scheduled exercises have been held at Fort McCoy in previous years.
Capt. Jim Lavelle, a planning specialist and a military training officer for the Directorate of Plans, Training Mobilization and Security (DPTMS), said although the exercises are the same ones as last year, the focus can change from year to year.
The Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX) and the Warrior Exercise (WAREX) were military-police focused exercises in 2010, he said. For 2011, they will be engineer-focused exercises.
"They will do construction work, route-clearance training for convoys and training at the Contingency Operating Locations Freedom and Liberty," Lavelle said. "Their equipment and unique skills help us out."
In return for their work supporting installation Troop Projects, Fort McCoy provides the units with the materials and projects to hone their skills, he said.
Engineers completing the Essayons Exercise built the berms for the Sportsman's Range in 2010.
Lavelle said engineer units will help construct the 3-D and elevated archery ranges at the facility this year, and will complete survey and design work on numerous projects including improvements to the Air Assault Towers, making them better for the Air Assault courses being planned for 2012.
The Red Dragon (homeland security) and Diamond Saber (finance) exercises will return with additional troop strength from last year. Lavelle said Diamond Saber will incorporate more lessons learned from deployments, and provide training not otherwise available in the Continental U.S., to help prepare units for future missions.
Other units will use the newer training facilities on post. The 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) and the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team will be using the newer live-fire shoot house, the breech facility and the additional village-type training area, such as the Urban Assault Course and Mobile Urban Training Site, (MUTS)-North, which has been newly instrumented to record and play back training for critiquing performance, he said.
The 48th in conjunction with the Air Force also will be completing air drops of personnel and equipment into Badger Drop Zone, using helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, as well as conducting helicopter assault training at the Young Air Assault Strip. Additionally in the aviation arena, the 32nd IBCT will train Raven Pilots on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle operations.
Lavelle said the units involved in the exercises also may use the newer facilities after completing exercise-directed training tasks.
Terry Hoff, DPTMS Range officer, said many of the new facilities the installation has been working on will help support the exercises. These include six new rural villages, 89 new buildings at MUTS-South and a live-fire breech facility.
In addition, a search/site exploitation facility will be available to support extended combat training and battle drill training, he said.
Stelzner said many of the units return to train at Fort McCoy because they can't get the same support at other installations.
"A Louisiana unit involved in Diamond Saber is returning to participate in the exercise, even though they could have gone to other installations, including some in state that were closer," he said.
Diamond Saber and Red Dragon are planned for the May-June time frame.
In June, Essayons, an Army Reserve engineer exercise, will return for the third consecutive year to Fort McCoy.
The Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition to determine the Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year will be held in July. Winners will advance to the Army level competition scheduled later in the year.
Patriot, a joint Air/Army National Guard exercise, and the CSTX are slated for July.
Stelzner said Operation Platinum Wrench, a U.S. Army Reserve Command-directed maintenance program, will arrive in June and continue rotations of Soldiers through August to support the CSTX and WAREX.
WAREX, which is scheduled for August, will train Army Reserve units in collective Army Warrior Tasks and help prepare the units for training/deployment as part of the Army Force Generation model. In the past, the exercise emphasized forward operating base defense and convoy lanes training, he said.
The 78th Training Brigade of Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., supports CSTX and WAREX training. The 86th Training Division at Fort McCoy will support the training and eventually take over command and control of the WAREX.
Stelzner said an Air Force Research Lab contingent also will conduct demolition training in the April-May time frame.
Units interested in scheduling training at Fort McCoy can have their representatives call the Range Scheduling Section at 608-388-3721.