By Scott T. Sturkol, Fort McCoy Public Affairs October 27, 2015
FORT McCOY, WIs. -- Soldiers with the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division of Fort Bliss, Texas, trained at Fort McCoy in September as part of an Army Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise, or EDRE.
An EDRE is a no-notice, rapid-deployment exercise designed to test a unit's ability to alert, marshal, and deploy forces and equipment to an emergency disaster or for contingency operations. The September exercise required the unit and its equipment to fly from Fort Bliss to Fort McCoy via Air Force airlift.
The exercise was different from any other training typically done at the installation, said Range Officer Mike Todd of the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS). "The EDRE is a training event that is growing Armywide," he said.
From feedback he received from the Fort Bliss unit, Todd said the September exercise was a success.
"Their ability to depart their home station, land at McCoy, and bring their whole kit was successful," Todd said. "They validated their capability to deploy from homestation to a location to execute their mission."
Todd said Fort McCoy is the ideal area to hold these exercises.
"We've been … telling folks throughout the Army that we have the capability here," Todd said. "We've been (saying) that if you want to have an EDRE or an off-site training area, then Fort McCoy is a place for you to go to.
"We have a dirt airstrip that you can fly into that simulates an austere environment, and so much more," Todd said. "When doing this type of training here, you can go out and do just about anything you want to do."
The Army's XVIII (18th) Airborne (ABN) Corps has long held the standard on completing an EDRE, said Todd, who previously was assigned as a battalion operations officer under the XVIII ABN Corps. According to the XVIII ABN Corps, it conducts monthly practice to issue an on-call status to forces; marshal equipment; conduct crisis action planning; and deploy a portion of its force, without warning, in order to refine skills and validate the rapid-deployment capability.
"The monthly practice is, basically, where you conduct an alert, bring your (troops) in to get them to the point of deploying, or you (rapidly) deploy them," Todd said.
DPTMS Director Brad Stewart said the September EDRE may be the first of many at Fort McCoy.
"As the active Army puts more units in a prepared, deployable posture or a short-recall posture, they will be exercised through the EDRE process, and Fort McCoy should be a part of that," Stewart said.
In addition to exercises, some of the EDRE missions to McCoy could include cold-weather operations. "There is a huge interest in getting an (EDRE) force up here (in the winter)," Stewart said.
Todd said that as the EDRE training mission grows at Fort McCoy, unit command teams will have many options for their training.
"It's not like (they) are just going to get on a plane, land (here), and go back," Todd said. "(I think they) are going to land here and do a mission. They can get a (Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System) kit here, and we have all the instrumentation systems, so you can basically put together a quality after-action review package and, in turn, ensure Soldiers are better trained."