By Tom Michele, Fort McCoyApril 22, 2010
FORT McCOY, Wis. -- The Fort McCoy Mobilization Soldier Computer Center is an important asset for mobilizing and demobilizing Soldiers during their stay at Fort McCoy.
Sending and receiving e-mail from Families and friends, accessing Army online training sources, and completing paperwork required for travel arrangements are among the top reasons Soldiers use the center, located in building 2773 in the heart of the Fort McCoy mobilization processing area.
Spc. Robert Anderson, with the 328th Engineer Company, a New Jersey Army Reserve unit preparing to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, said, while seated at a center computer, "I'm getting my school transcripts ready for my promotion points processing. That's very helpful so I can further my career."
Master Sgt. Charles Zehner said he has spent many hours at the center. Zehner, a member of the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Wisconsin Army National Guard, returned recently from a one-year tour of duty in Iraq. He has been subsequently assigned to the Fort McCoy Mobilization Support Battalion as he processes into retirement after 28 years of military service.
"The Computer Center is a huge benefit for Soldiers in the middle of mobilization," Zehner said. "It has been a great help as I process my retirement papers."
"Ninety percent of Soldiers have their own laptops, but, at the Computer Center, they can access the Internet and their e-mail," Zehner said. "Also, at the center, they have a printer for use by Soldiers, and that is huge. Very few Soldiers, especially on the move, have their own printers."
Zehner also said he communicates with his Family and friends via e-mail, and those e-mails may be printed and preserved as memories and keepsakes.
The center also has a copy machine and FAX machine for Soldier use. "I've gotten a lot of help from the Computer Center operators," he added.
The Computer Center has three desktop computers and 18 laptops. The center is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Lynda Krog, one of the center's operators, said the center has consistent, and frequently, heavy use. Krog, who has worked at the center for two years, said as many as 400 personnel have used the center in one day, like when the larger brigade combat teams are at Fort McCoy for mob or demob.
"When we are full of visitors, we allow each Soldier 15 minutes at a time on a computer when doing unofficial business," Krog said. "Then they can go to the back of the waiting line, and it doesn't take much time to get back on a computer." Soldiers doing official business are not interrupted and those in line waiting to do official business are moved to the front.
Krog noted the busiest time normally is before and after the evening meal. "It depends when units allow Soldiers time off and also how many Soldiers are mobing or demobing at any specific time."
"The Computer Center allows Soldiers to communicate and touch base with their Families and friends and to get a lot of their Soldier work performed," Krog concluded.