An estimated 4,000 people or more attended the 2018 Fort McCoy Armed Forces Day Open House on May 19.

Partly cloudy skies and moderate temperatures allowed for more visitors to the open house than 2017, which saw heavy rain and cooler temperatures.

The open house was held on the grounds of Fort McCoy's historic Commemorative Area, which includes World War II-era buildings, the Equipment Park, and Veterans Memorial Plaza. It also covered areas inside and outside of building 905.

Activities were available for people of all ages, and those activities highlighted more than history, said Public Affairs Specialist Theresa Fitzgerald with the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office. People lined up for camouflage face painting, personalized ID tags, an interactive-marksmanship gallery, and military-vehicle and fire-truck displays. They also saw the latest Army medical equipment in use, filled sandbags to build a mock defensive position, and more.

Vehicle displays appeared to be some of the most popular stops by visitors, and Fort McCoy staff members conducted numerous installation bus tours, of which more than 400 visitors took advantage.

"The installation bus tours are always popular, and they were again this year," Fitzgerald said.

Also included, and new to 2018, was a display from the Monroe County Local History Room of Sparta, Wis., and after-action review trailers from the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security that showed Army videos and footage of training conducted at Fort McCoy.

Visitor Rich Christensen of Illinois said he enjoyed the event once again.
"It was a great day," Christensen said. "Thank you for the displays! We have been going there for the last six years, and it never gets old."

Capt. Dan Frantz, commander of the 181st Multi-Functional Training Brigade Headquarters and Headquarters Company, led a team of eight Soldiers with the 181st who conducted the face painting for the open house.

His team also set up a night-vision display and a weapons display of crew-served weapons commonly used by Soldiers training at Fort McCoy.

"Everything went very well," Frantz said. "We had a larger turnout than we expected and we had people coming from all over. There was one person I talked to who came from an area near Janesville (Wis.).

"Lots of kids, possibly more than 100, had their faces painted and even more visited our displays," Frantz said. "I think it was a great turnout overall."

The 2018 open house also remembered the 100th anniversary of World War I. Numerous displays with a World War I focus were on hand, including 88th Readiness Division Historian Ward Zischke's presentation, Tom Buehler's historical military equipment, and the Monroe County Local History Room offering a display.

Also held at Fort McCoy on May 19 were the garrison's change-of-command ceremony and Army Recruiting's "Our Community Salutes" program. Both were held at Rumpel Fitness Center.

Learn more about Fort McCoy online at, on Facebook by searching "ftmccoy," and on Twitter by searching "usagmccoy."