Wisconsin National Guard combat engineers hold live-fire breach training at Fort McCoy
1 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Spc. Zach Soletski with the 173rd Engineer Company of the Wisconsin National Guard prepares to set off crater charge for breaching operations Oct. 14, 2022, at a training area at Fort McCoy, Wis. Dozens of Soldiers with the company conducted training at Fort McCoy in mid-October. (Photo by 2nd Lt. Frank Mueller/173rd Engineer Company) (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
Wisconsin National Guard combat engineers hold live-fire breach training at Fort McCoy
2 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The 3rd Squad of 3rd Platoon with the 173rd Engineer Company of the Wisconsin National Guard conducts breaching operations Oct. 14, 2022, at a training area at Fort McCoy, Wis. Dozens of Soldiers with the company conducted training at Fort McCoy in mid-October. (Photo by 2nd Lt. Frank Mueller/173rd Engineer Company) (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
Wisconsin National Guard combat engineers hold live-fire breach training at Fort McCoy
3 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Spc. Zach Soletski with the 173rd Engineer Company of the Wisconsin National Guard prepares to set off crater charge for breaching operations Oct. 14, 2022, at a training area at Fort McCoy, Wis. Dozens of Soldiers with the company conducted training at Fort McCoy in mid-October. (Photo by 2nd Lt. Frank Mueller/173rd Engineer Company) (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
Wisconsin National Guard combat engineers hold live-fire breach training at Fort McCoy
4 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The 3rd Squad of 3rd Platoon with the 173rd Engineer Company of the Wisconsin National Guard conducts breaching operations Oct. 14, 2022, at a training area at Fort McCoy, Wis. Dozens of Soldiers with the company conducted training at Fort McCoy in mid-October. (Photo by 2nd Lt. Frank Mueller/173rd Engineer Company) (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

Soldiers with the 173rd Engineer Company of the Wisconsin National Guard held weekend training at Fort McCoy on Oct. 14-15, and it included live-fire training in urban breaching operations.

“Second and 3rd Platoons of Alpha Company of the 173rd conducted urban breaching operations at the Life Fire Breach Facility and heavy demolition at Range 402 and 17A (at Fort McCoy),” said 2nd Lt. Frank Mueller, 1st Platoon leader with Alpha Company of the 173rd.

According to Army doctrine, breaching operations are conducted to allow maneuver despite the presence of obstacles. Obstacle breaching is the employment of a combination of tactics and techniques to advance an attacking force to the far side of an obstacle that is covered by fire.

According to Mueller, 173rd Soldiers used munitions like a crater charge to practice breaching operations.

Training in urban breaching operations is possible in many areas throughout Fort McCoy. As stated in the 2022 Fort McCoy Executive Summary, published in April 2022, “Fort McCoy provides full-scale support to its customers at each juncture of its training triad — transient, institutional and exercise. Transient training customers are those who are at the installation for a period of two weeks or less. Transient training is the foundation and building blocks on which individuals and units learn and hone Warrior skills.”

According to the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, Fort McCoy also has 31 live-fire ranges, 17 of which are automated or instrumented; 21 artillery firing points; 12 mortar firing points; and an 8,000-acre impact area. Ranges supporting collective live-fire training include two multipurpose training ranges, a convoy live-fire range, an infantry platoon and squad battle course, three multipurpose machine-gun ranges, two live-fire shoot houses, and a live-fire breach facility.

Individual qualification ranges include facilities for modified record-fire, automated record-fire, and 10-meter/25-meter rifle zero range for open and optic sights, as well as a qualification training facility with modified record-fire and combat pistol/military police qualification-course capability.

Fort McCoy also has extensive urban and rural training facilities. To support urban training the post offers two fully instrumented urban training sites, a 25-building Combined Arms Collective Training Facility (CACTF), a 20-building Collective Training Facility, and three wireless instrumented Combat in the Cities facilities with a total of 309 buildings.

These co-located facilities provide an urban training area with a continuous 2.4-kilometer capability for mounted and dismounted urban training scenarios. Three after-action review facilities provide on-site, immediate feedback capabilities. An urban assault course and two live-fire shoot houses round out the urban training capability.

173rd’s Alpha Company Commander 1st Lt. Brandon Lehman said the training time his Soldiers had for breaching operations as well as other training was good for the unit.

“It was an amazing drill that allowed us to exercise our skills conducting real-world, impactful training,” Lehman said.

Fort McCoy’s motto is to be the “Total Force Training Center.” 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 nearly every year since 1984.

Learn more about Fort McCoy online at https://home.army.mil/mccoy, on the Defense Visual Information Distribution System at https://www.dvidshub.net/fmpao, on Facebook by searching “ftmccoy,” and on Twitter by searching “usagmccoy.”

Also try downloading the Digital Garrison app to your smartphone and set “Fort McCoy” or another installation as your preferred base.

(Article prepared by the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office and the 173rd Engineer Company.)