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    2019-20 CWOC training season begins at Fort McCoy

    2019-20 CWOC training season begins at Fort McCoy

    Photo By Scott Sturkol | Students pick up cold-weather equipment Dec. 5, 2019, at the Central Issue Facility...... read more read more

    The 2019-20 season of the Fort McCoy Cold-Weather Operations Course (CWOC) started Dec. 5 at the installation, beginning officially the fourth season of the course.

    This season, the CWOC training team of instructors, Hunter Heard, Joe Ernst, and Manny Ortiz, is prepared to hold five, 14-day training sessions of CWOC as well as four, three-day sessions.

    In 2018, there were six of the 14-day classes. But, through feedback and class customization, some changes were made to offer the four shorter sessions of CWOC.

    “This is the first year we’re offering the three-day courses,” said Heard, who works for contractor Veterans Range Solutions, which supports the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, or DPTMS. “This gives us a chance to offer training over a weekend to a Guard or Reserve unit that would like their troops to gain some cold-weather operations skills.”

    Overall, Heard said the goal is to train approximately 300 service members. Based on those who have already registered for training, service members from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force will be a part of the 2019-20 training season. “This will be the first time we’ve had Air Force personnel as part of the course,” Heard said.

    The CWOC is modeled after the Cold-Weather Leader Course taught by the Army Northern Warfare Training Center at Black Rapids, Alaska. During training, students learned about a wide range of cold-weather subjects, including skiing and snowshoe training, how to use ahkio sleds and the Arctic 10-person cold-weather tent, and how to build improvised shelters.

    For each class, students start off with classroom training and then move into various aspects of field training. Ernst said some students come to the course having never been on skis or snowshoes.

    “It’s amazing to see how they adjust and learn throughout the training experience,” Ernst said. “This season, like others previously, our students will be tested in tough conditions. And in the feedback we receive from every class, most students are appreciative of everything they have learned.”

    “This course demonstrated through crawl, walk, and run phases the vital tasks of cold-weather operations,” said Capt. Christopher Scott Peterman with the 349th Tactical Psychological Operations Company of Aurora, Colo., who was a student in CWOC Class 19-06 in March. “Directly, this course taught me to manage uncomfortable situations and how to better work in a team with others.”

    Students complete miles of ruck marching in the snow and cold during the season. Sometimes students move in snowshoes and skis covering dozens of miles. Students also complete training terrain and weather analysis, camouflage and concealment, and risk management. They also learn about properly wearing issued cold-weather clothing and how to prevent cold-weather injuries.

    “An important part of the training and understanding operations in the cold weather is how to identify and understand what causes cold-weather injuries,” said Ortiz, who was a combat medic in the Army. “This year, we will have training that will include scenarios on how students can respond to help a victim of hypothermia. This will help them build confidence and knowledge in understanding cold-weather injuries as well.”

    Course operations have also changed locations on the cantonment area for the season. The main classroom building is now in building 2806, and the main warehouse where students gear up is in building 2857. The course will also access buildings 2808, 2809, 2810, and 2811 during the training season.

    “We have a new, more easily accessible location that will work well for our students,” Heard said. “The new location along with the changes we have completed to improve the course will allow us to deliver a more polished product to our students. We’re looking forward to a great training season.”

    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 each year since 1984.

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



    Date Taken: 12.06.2019
    Date Posted: 12.06.2019 15:53
    Story ID: 354603
    Location: FORT MCCOY, WI, US 

    Web Views: 147
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