Fort McCoy continues to be a high-volume training venue as 148,733 personnel trained at the installation in fiscal year 2018 − just a few thousand under the record number of troops who trained on post in 2017.
Training statistics reflect many types of training opportunities that take place at the installation by active- and reserve-component forces and other governmental agencies, said Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security Training Division Chief Ed Carns.
DPTMS personnel document the training statistics each month of the fiscal year. The documentation involves combining numbers of the entire training population, which encompasses reserve- and active-component military forces as well as other training agencies, such as law enforcement agencies or the Wisconsin Challenge Academy.
The 2018 training statistics were split between extended combat training and battle drills. The ECT total for the fiscal year was 91,073, which includes institutional, civilian, and law-enforcement training and major exercises. The battle drill (weekend training) total for 2018 was 57,660.
It was a very busy training year that could have been much higher if Wisconsin’s 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team and Illinois’ 33rd IBCT had completed their annual training at Fort McCoy this year, Carns said.
“The loss of those units completing annual training here was the only factor keeping us from having another record year,” Carns said.
During fiscal year 2018, Fort McCoy held its highest level of winter training in many years with hundreds of service members completing the Cold-Weather Operations Course and more than 1,200 Marines participating in the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing’s Ullr Shield exercise in January.
Capt. Andrew Fabre with Marine Air Control Group 28 participated in the CWOC at Fort McCoy in December and came back in January for Ullr Shield. He said Fort McCoy is a great place for the cold-weather training they wanted to accomplish.
“Fort McCoy is a top-notch training facility and base,” Fabre said. “Our mission cannot be completed without our Marines operating at a high level. The CWOC and other cold-weather) training (allowed) us to prepare for any environment with cold extremes, which also allows us to remain focused on the threat and the mission instead of the environment.”
Other big training events during the year included three Combat Support Training Exercises and Operation Cold Steel II, as well as smaller exercises. Two of the CSTXs were coordinated by the 84th Training Command and the 86th Training Division as part of the Army Reserve’s Combat Support Training Program (CSTP).
According to the 84th Training Command, CSTP exercises are large-scale training exercises in which units experience tactical training scenarios specifically designed to replicate real-world missions.
“CSTP exercises prepare Army Reserve units to be combat-ready by immersing them in realistic scenarios where they train as they would fight,” states an 84th document about the exercises. “These exercises are developed to improve units’ training readiness and to assess how they perform in a dynamic operational environment.”
For fiscal year 2019, Fort McCoy will continue to see high numbers of troops training on post, said DPTMS director Brad Stewart. This will include numerous CWOC classes throughout the winter, Operation Cold Steel III taking place, and much more, he said.
“Fort McCoy will continue to have a direct impact by helping thousands of troops train in a four-season climate,” Stewart said. “Fort McCoy is truly becoming the year-round Total Force Training Center we know it can be.”
Fort McCoy first broke the 100,000 troop training level in fiscal year 1985. An annual training record of 155,975 was set in fiscal year 2017.