By Scott SturkolFebruary 19, 2019
Approximately 300 Soldiers with civil affairs, psychological operations (PSYOP), and information operations (IO) units trained in the Command Post Exercise Functional (CPX-F) 19-10 from Jan. 22 to Feb. 11 at Fort McCoy.
The exercise was a unique opportunity to bring together civil affairs, PSYOP, and IO to train in one place, said Col. Rachel Sherrer, CPX-F 19-10 exercise planner. Soldiers from each career field completed training objectives and scenarios as determined previously by their units.
"This has been an opportunity where everyone has been trying to learn from one another," Sherrer said. "We're learning how we can work together on the battlefield to improve communications and information sharing. It's been a positive experience."
During the training at Fort McCoy, exercise participants have experienced a couple of snow storms and below-zero winter temperatures. Deputy Commanding General of the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (USACAPOC) Brig. Gen. Jeffrey C. Coggin of Fort Bragg, N.C., said the cold and snow added value to the training.
"They've had to figure out how to continue to do their jobs (in this weather)," said Coggin, who also was the CPX-F 19-10 exercise director. "Mother Nature added that in for us. We couldn't have put that in our planning, and it challenged them in what they were doing."
As a USACAPOC-centric training event, CPX-F 19-10 tested everyone involved, Coggin said. He said he appreciated the work of everyone involved, including the USACAPOC units as well as those people who came from the 84th Training Command Great Lakes Division, contractors from General Dynamics, and Soldiers from various units who helped with training support.
"It takes a lot to pull one of these off and make it work," Coggin said. "It takes months of preparation. ... This is really the culmination of a lot of hard work."
Col. Tracey Collins with the 84th Training Command Great Lakes Division at Fort Sheridan, Ill., said everyone worked well together.
"I know that my team from the 84th has actually learned quite a bit about the civil affairs and PSYOP community and what they bring to the fight," Collins said. "We learned along the way as well. Also, everyone seemed to be giving their 100 percent. We also worked extra hard to make sure we had manning for all the positions that we needed to in order to make this a success."
Col. Michael Magliocco with the 353rd Civil Affairs Command at Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island, N.Y., led the team of observer-coach/trainers for the exercise. He said his team was responsible for providing oversight, direction, and observations for the units going through the training.
"We have a combined team of personnel from USACAPOC - our civil affairs, psychological operations, and information operations community - along with our 84th Training Command Great Lakes Training Division partners," Magliocco said. "It's been a very good blend. The 84th personnel provide more of a kind of doctrinal approach. ... Our civil affairs, PSYOP, and information operations personnel provide a greater detailed level of expertise in their respective areas. It's been, from my viewpoint, very successful working together with both these communities for the exercise."
As the exercise participants went through each scenario and training event, Fort McCoy support personnel were standing by to assist at every turn. Coggin and others said they appreciated what the installation support team did for them during the exercise.
"This is my third CPX, and I'd have to say this is the best location of the ones that I've experienced because the way that it's laid out," Coggin said. "We're not competing against a lot of other units. We're not competing against a limited amount of assets. Fort McCoy has really supported us extremely well. It's been spectacular how they've really done that.
"There's been other units training here since we've been here, but we've had the run of the place, and everyone has supported us well," he said. "The infrastructure, housing, feeding, and taking care of our Soldiers has been great."
"Throughout my career I have come to Fort McCoy numerous times," Collins said "Everyone (at Fort McCoy) has been great. Even with the snow that arrived when we first got here ... no matter what, they have been right on it. The service here could not have been any better."
Coggin said there will be a second CPX-F at Fort McCoy in June. Units participating in this CPX-F included the 450th Civil Affairs Battalion, 15th Psychological Operations Battalion, 303rd Information Operations Battalion, 432nd Civil Affairs Battalion, and 308th Civil Affairs Brigade.
Located in the heart of the upper Midwest, Fort McCoy is the only U.S. Army installation in Wisconsin. The installation has provided support and facilities for the field and classroom training of more than 100,000 military personnel from all services each year since 1984.
Learn more about Fort McCoy online at https://home.army.mil/mccoy, on Facebook by searching "ftmccoy," and on Twitter by searching "usagmccoy.