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Training vehicles

Soldiers drive military vehicles in a convoy April 5 on Highway 21 near Tunnel City en route to training at Fort McCoy.

Training at Fort McCoy from January through April included thousands of service members completing cold-weather operations training, a major Marine unit exercise, the start of Operation Cold Steel II, a Regional Medic exercise and the completion of the 78th Training Division’s Combat Support Training Exercise.

The training pace was so steady, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security director Brad Stewart said during a recent garrison-tenant staff meeting that, as of March 31, more than 59,000 troops have trained at the installation in fiscal year 2018.

“That’s significantly ahead of where we were a year ago at this time,” he said.

Going through the end of May will be Operation Cold Steel II, which began in mid-February.

According to exercise planners, OCS II operations at Fort McCoy for 2018 falls under Task Force Triad. The task force, hosted by the 416th Theater Engineer Command, holds training through May 31 in which more than 3,000 soldiers, or approximately 1,000 crews, are expected to attend the mounted crew-served weapons qualification training.

As of mid-April, 412 crews successfully completed Table VI crew qualification at Fort McCoy, according to OCS II personnel managing the training. During Cold Steel II, the crews are training on the M2, M240, M249, and MK19 weapons across a variety of vehicle platforms, including Humvees, M1078 light medium tactical vehicle, M1083 family of medium tactical vehicles, M1075 palletized load system vehicle and the M113 armored personnel carrier. Crews conduct the training and qualification throughout a 13-day schedule.

“Training and range use for Cold Steel is much like last year,” said Training Coordination Branch chief Craig Meeusen with DPTMS. “For this training, Ranges 2, 18, 26, and 34 are mainly being used.”

Going into May and throughout May, there will be many units at Fort McCoy for weekend, battle-drill, and extended-combat training. Among those scheduled are more than 600 soldiers with the 732nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion of the Wisconsin National Guard; 400-plus soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 120th Field Artillery, 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, also of the Wisconsin National Guard; 600-plus soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 178th Infantry Regiment, 33rd Brigade Combat Team, of the Illinois National Guard; and 200-plus soldiers with the Army Reserve’s 327th Military Police Battalion headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

Training in May at Fort McCoy will also include visits by ROTC units, law-enforcement personnel, Army engineer units and Army medical personnel and units.

“We’re looking at more than 13,000 people training on post in May,” Meeusen said.

For institutional training, hundreds more service members are scheduled to train with garrison and tenant organizations at the installation, including with the 13th Battalion, 100th Regiment; Regional Training Site-Maintenance; Medical Simulation Training Center; Staff Sgt. Todd R. Cornell Noncommissioned Officer Academy; and the Wisconsin Military Academy.

Once June rolls around, training will remain at a high level with the start of another Combat Support Training Exercise and the military police-centric Guardian Justice exercise taking place, Meeusen said.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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