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    Fort McCoy’s 2021 in review: Historic events, high training levels continue, new mission begins in second half of year

    Fort McCoy hosts historic visit with 40th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army

    Photo By Scott Sturkol | (From left, first row) Brig. Gen. Maria Juarez, deputy commanding general-support with...... read more read more



    Story by Aimee Malone 

    Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office           

    Fort McCoy continued a busy training schedule in the second half of 2021 in addition to accepting a new mission in the form of Operation Allies Refuge, later known as Operation Allies Welcome. That operation was among many historic events on post in the second half of 2021.

    Fort McCoy started off July by welcoming a new garrison command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Raquel DiDomenico, with a ceremony July 1. DiDomenico had previously served on post at the Fort McCoy Noncommissioned Officer Academy.

    Fort McCoy welcomed a new garrison deputy commander just five days later on July 6. Lt. Col. Chad Maynard came to Fort McCoy after serving as professor of military science at the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio.
    During July, Fort McCoy supported the level III mobilization exercise Pershing Strike ’21. The exercise included an Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercise (EDRE), two units preparing for deployment, and additional units completing training to “stress” Mobilization Force Generation Installation (MFGI) capabilities, said Fort McCoy Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS) Director Mike Todd.

    About a dozen Soldiers with the 4th Platoon of Wisconsin National Guard’s 950th Engineer Company (Route Clearance) helped advance a troop construction project just outside the cantonment area fence at Fort McCoy. The Soldiers continued clearing land and moving dirt for a future construction site that will house installation service contractors in one convenient location.

    The 181st Multi-Functional Training Brigade, a tenant unit at Fort McCoy, hosted a visit from Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston from July 20-21. He met and spoke with Soldier and spouses about quality-of-life issues, as well as meeting with Soldiers who were training at Fort McCoy.

    At the end of July, Fort McCoy hosted Air National Guard’s Audacious Warrior, along with Volk Field. Explosive ordnance disposal Airmen practiced their skills at the Combined Arms Training Facility.

    Fort McCoy’s Civilian Personnel Advisory Center started out August with a high note. The Non-Appropriated Fund Division received a 98 percent during an audit of the center. The Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security was also recognized for achievements during the Army Operations Security Achievement Awards competition.

    Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. James C. McConville visited the post for the first time Aug. 11. He was joined by Lt. Gen. Jody Daniels, chief of the Army Reserve and commanding general, U.S. Army Reserve Command; Gen. Michael Garrett, commanding general, U.S. Army Forces Command; and Brig. Gen. Maria Juarez, deputy commanding general, 88th Readiness Division.

    During the first three weeks of August, Fort McCoy hosted Combat Support Training Exercise 78-21-04. CSTX is a large-scale, Army Reserve training event in which noncombat units participate in tactical training scenarios specifically designed to replicate real-world missions in preparation of the needs of combatant commanders around the world. Other exercises also taking place during August were Diamond Saber, Global Medic, and the Air Force Reserve’s Patriot Warrior.

    On. Aug. 13, the Air Force’s Northern Lightning exercise made use of Fort McCoy’s impact area to drop a 500-pound Joint Direct Attack Munition, marking the first time the munition was used at Fort McCoy.

    A new bridge-building training site opened Aug. 19 with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Bridge crewmembers will use the Line of Communication — Bridge site, also known as LOC-B, to train on setting up hasty, retractable passages over difficult terrain areas — such as trenches and rivers — to be better prepared when in a deployed environment.

    In mid-August, Fort McCoy received a new mission when it was announced that it would serve as a temporary housing site for Afghan evacuees. Approximately 1,000 service members assembled to serve Task Force McCoy for Operation Allies Refuge/Operation Allies Welcome, in addition to other government agencies and nongovernmental organizations. Both garrison and Task Force members worked quickly to consolidate housing, dining, and other support facilities for the Afghan arrivals into one area of the post.

    Fort McCoy remembered the 20 years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by hosting a handful of events. At the first, World Trade Center survivor Genelle Guzman-McMillan shared her story and how she’s adjusted to life since she was rescued from the rubble. On the anniversary itself, garrison leadership held a remembrance ceremony at the Commemorative Area’s Veterans Memorial Plaza.

    USO Wisconsin celebrated five years on post providing support to service members and their families. The support includes a full cycle, starting with training needs and deployments to Yellow Ribbon events; welcome-home celebrations; permanent change of station; and morale, welfare, and recreation needs.

    Training on post continued into the fall with Soldiers learning how to operation the new Joint Light Tactical Vehicle. Regional Training Site-Maintenance also hosted the Wheeled Vehicle Recovery Operations Course, which covers operation and maintenance of recovery vehicles and use of standard procedures to rig and recover wheeled vehicles. Related training tasks include oxygen and acetylene gas welding; boom and hoist operations; winch operations; and recovery of mired, overturned, and disabled vehicles.

    Task Force McCoy continued and expanded its support for Operation Allies Welcome. Soldiers with the medical team screened Afghan evacuees for health problems, provided missing vaccinations, and coordinated appointments with local medical providers as needed.

    Task Force McCoy invited both civic leaders and media to tour the mission.

    Volunteers with multiple nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations worked on post to help coordinate donations and provide services to the Afghans on post. Gen. Glen VanHerck, commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, visited Task Force McCoy on Sept. 26 at Fort McCoy.

    Construction continued on several projects throughout post, including modern barracks facilities; a shipping, receiving, and mail freight facility; and on training ranges.

    A number of awareness months are held in October, including Domestic Violence Awareness Month, National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and Energy Action Month. Fort McCoy hosted Rob Lougee, assistant national employment director for Disabled Americans, for a virtual presentation for National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

    Two Afghan women told their stories to The Today Show in honor of International Day of the Girl on Oct. 11. Army Community Service also hosted a Women’s Resilience Day event Oct. 21, exploring the five dimensions of resilience — emotional, family, physical, social, and spiritual.

    Training numbers were announced for fiscal year 2021 in October. Fort McCoy supported the training of 116,053 troops on post during fiscal year 2021, nearly doubling the number from 2020, which was curtailed due to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The numbers include Army Reserve Soldiers; National Guard service members; and active-duty troops from not just the Army but also other services, such as the Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force.

    Operation Allies Welcome continued to help Afghans navigate the immigration process and provide opportunities for the evacuees while they remained at Fort McCoy. A sewing center opened and more formal classes for both children and adults were organized.

    Training picked up again at the start of the new fiscal year. Illinois National Guard Soldiers held weapons training early in the month. Regional Training Site-Maintenance also hosted its first classes of the year.

    Fort McCoy supported Veterans Day both on and off the installation. Installation Soldiers and leadership attended several events in local communities, including Sparta, Wis., and Tomah, Wis.

    The Religious Support Office hosted its annual Veterans Day Prayer Luncheon with retired Wisconsin State Patrol Maj. Darren Price leading the event.

    Ho-Chunk William Quackenbush, tribal historical preservation officer and Cultural Resources Division manager, visited Fort McCoy to share information about the Ho-Chunk history and the region that Fort McCoy is part of. November is National Native American Heritage Month.

    Task Force McCoy held both optometry and vaccination clinics in November to assist the Afghan evacuees. A presentation about job opportunities in America and how to apply for them was also held.

    The first Cold-Weather Operations Course for fiscal year 2022 kicked off Dec. 1 at the installation. More than 150 Marines participated in the course, which was temporarily reworked to support the training needs of the Marines.

    Fort McCoy kicked off the holiday season Dec. 2 with the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Family-friendly activities were hosted inside McCoy’s Community Center, while the tree itself was lit up outside the recreation facility and eatery.

    Leaders with the Fort McCoy Garrison helped serve up a holiday meal Dec. 8 at a dining facility in the Fort McCoy Noncommissioned Officer Academy Complex. Serving hundreds were Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. Michael Poss; Deputy Garrison Commander Lt. Col. Chad Maynard; Headquarters Company Commander Maj. James Lavelle; and Command Sgt. Maj. Raquel DiDomenico, garrison command sergeant major. Hundreds of people attended the holiday meal coordinated by the Logistics Readiness Division Food Service Team. The meal included turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, a fish option, and so much more.

    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, on the Defense Visual Information Distribution System at, 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.

    (Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of two articles looking back at 2021 at Fort McCoy. Look for part one of Fort McCoy’s 2021 in review in the Jan. 14 edition of The Real McCoy.)



    Date Taken: 01.28.2022
    Date Posted: 01.28.2022 14:06
    Story ID: 413631
    Location: FORT MCCOY, WI, US 

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