Numerous Sailors were among the 40-plus service members who completed training in the arduous Cold-Weather Operations Course Class 19-06 from March 7-21 at Fort McCoy.
The Navy personnel were part of the 14-day course, which was organized by Fort McCoy's Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security and taught by instructors with contractor Veterans Range Solutions.
In classroom training, they learned about various subjects, such as preventing cold-weather injuries and the history of cold-weather military operations. In field training, they learned about downhill and cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ahkio sled use, and setting up cold-weather shelters, such as the Arctic 10-person cold-weather tent or an improvised shelter.
"This course taught me valuable skills and methods for (working) in climates and conditions of cold or even Arctic locations," said a Navy student from Rota Naval Station, Spain, whose name is withheld for operational security (OPSEC) reasons. "I really enjoyed learning to ski. Also, the days in the field with our squads were very informative and helpful instruction. Class instruction on weather, medicine, and tracking was also helpful."
During the time the Sailors were training at Fort McCoy, there was enough snow and cold weather to help with the realism of the training. This contributed to their skills-building capability for subjects such as terrain and weather analysis, risk management, developing winter fighting positions in the field, camouflage and concealment, and more.
"Fort McCoy is perfect for this training," said Navy Diver 2nd Class Sean Ryan Connelly, also a student who was from Rota. "Being a basic course, the terrain provides a great challenge without being too out of control in intensity. This really is a great course with great instructors."
Another Navy student, whose name also is withheld for OPSEC reasons, appreciated the training and said it helped him grow in skills and capabilities as a service member.
"This training really reinforced lessons learned to operate in cold weather," the student said. "This also was a great opportunity to mentor junior Sailors and Soldiers."
And yet another Sailor said the training at Fort McCoy was "excellent."
"Especially helpful training was staying overnight in improvised shelters," the Sailor said. "That training reinforced basic skills on proper shelter building. ... I also enjoyed learning the proper wear of cold-weather clothing."
The nearly one dozen Sailors who completed the course were not the first non-Army service members to participate since the course started in 2017. Sailors have participated in past classes as well as Marines and even some foreign service members.
"Through this course I was shown skills that could possibly save a life in emergency situations," one of the Sailors said. "I learned how to correctly pack a ruck and what appropriate clothing level is needed in cold-weather environments. ... I loved the training - no complaints from me."
Class 19-06 was the last of six CWOC classes that was taught between December 2018 and March. The fourth CWOC training season will restart later this year in December.
Located in the heart of the upper Midwest, Fort McCoy is the only U.S. Army installation in Wisconsin. Fort McCoy lives its motto, "Total Force Training Center." 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.