The 2019 Vigilant Triad exercise at Fort McCoy was held at Fort McCoy March 18-21 with the majority of the activity happening March 20.

Vigilant Triad is a full-scale exercise that helps the installation test its response to a variety of incidents and accidents, according to the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, or DPTMS.

Such exercises are part of a continuing effort by the Department of Defense to refine and improve emergency response to natural and man-made disasters. DPTMS served as the lead Fort McCoy agency for the exercise.

The 2019 exercise scenario included a simulated trail derailment where, because of the derailment, some overturned railcars replicated leaking hazardous materials.

The response included both police and fire department personnel with the Directorate of Emergency Services arriving at the scene immediately after the event occurred. Later, a team with the Canadian-Pacific Railroad took over the scene to recover the rail equipment, stop any hazardous material leaks, and return the scene to normal.

Fort McCoy activated its Installation Emergency Operations Center (IEOC) early March 20, conducted a simulated evacuation of South Post Housing, and conducted an accountability call for all Fort McCoy personnel.

The event triggered mass notifications to the Fort McCoy community, as well as response and recovery activities by both garrison and tenant organizations throughout post. The Army Community Service Emergency Family Assistance Center also was activated during the training event.

In January, DPTMS coordinated a training seminar that included presentations from the Canadian-Pacific Railroad Police and hazardous materials officer. A representative from the Western Wisconsin Health Emergency Response Coalition also gave a presentation.

"The intent of the seminar was to improve the installation's ability to support the post community before, during, and after a natural, manmade accidental, or intentional event," said Tim Werstein with DPTMS.

DPTMS Director Brad Stewart said the 2019 Vigilant Triad training was successful.

"The exercise fulfilled the Installation Management Command annual requirement to conduct a full-scale exercise to refine and improve installation's response to a local or regional all-hazards crisis," Stewart said.

"We have miles of railway going through the installation, so this served as a great training opportunity to work with Canadian-Pacific and related agencies to practice a response to an incident like this. Our team did great, and we can build on what we learned during the exercise."

The next Vigilant Triad exercise is tentatively scheduled for early 2020.

Fort McCoy has supported America's armed forces since 1909. The post's varied terrain, state-of-the-art ranges, new as well as renovated facilities, and extensive support infrastructure combine to provide military personnel with an environment in which to develop and sustain the skills necessary for mission success.

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

(The Fort McCoy Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security contributed to this article.)