By Staff Sgt. Tony Foster, Division West Public AffairsApril 2, 2014
FORT McCOY, Wis. -- Warrior Exercise 86-14-02 gathers Army Reserve units from across the nation here to reinforce warrior tasks and training from March 22 through April 11.
"The idea of the WAREX is that Army Reserve Soldiers are able to come to Ft. McCoy and increase their functional capabilities," said Brig. Gen. George Thompson, 86th Training Division commanding general. "If they were to deploy, they would be able to do what the Army has trained them to do and support that combatant commander in theatre."
Over 5,000 Soldiers ranging from chemical, engineer, human resources, medical, infantry, maintenance and other military occupations were selected to participate in the WAREX.
The exercise incorporates intense field training exercises, where the first eight days are driven through mission command and pre-cut fragmentary orders. This allows units and their Soldiers to go out and practice their functional training.
"The Soldiers are motivated and we as the leaders are setting the environment to stress them in a good way. They're able to perform, succeed and maybe fail at missions," said Thompson. "Then we are able to pick them up, dust them off, and keep them working, so that if put in a real environment, they can be the best they can be."
Many other factors come into play with overall training of Soldiers during the exercise. Soldiers get to train on other warrior tasks such as the Vertical Base Space 2 (VBS2) simulator and Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer (RVTT), and in facilities like the Medical Simulation Training Center (MSTC).
Several units and commands have corroborated to facilitate the training.
"The 86th isn't in this fight by themselves," said Thompson. "181st Infantry Brigade, under Division West is running the ground teams -- along with the 84th Training Command, 75th Division and the Medical Readiness Training Command also incorporated in this."
All these major flags fly here, putting on this training in a combat-like environment to aid Soldiers in answering the nation's call.
"Our mission here is to train the total force Army," said Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Yerger, 181st Infantry Brigade command sergeant major. "We're all cohorts together, working hand-in-hand."
Along with their partner units, the 181st provides Observer-Coach/Trainers to aid in mentoring the Soldiers on ground during training.
"Our training support battalion is providing embedded O-C/Ts at the platoon and company level, and facilitating their training within the hierarchy of the 86th," said Maj. Troy Eck, 3rd Battalion, 335th Training Support executive officer.
It's a great relationship between Division West and the 86th Division, Thompson said. "Together we are providing a great opportunity for Soldiers to come practice their stills and get better at what they do," he said.