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    Fort McCoy 2022 Year in Review: Second half of year brought new garrison commander, increased training, troop projects, more construction (July-September)

    Fort McCoy 2022 Year in Review: Second half of year brought new garrison commander, increased training, troop projects, more construction

    Photo By Scott Sturkol | Col. Stephen T. Messenger receives the Fort McCoy Garrison flag July 14, 2022, from...... read more read more

    While the first half of 2022 was busy at Fort McCoy, the second half was even busier. The second half of the year started with the garrison gaining a new commander and training on the installation was peaking.

    The installation was also seeing a myriad of troop projects being completed in July and August and even as late as October. There was also new construction starting in the 1600 block. All the same, the Fort McCoy team rose to the challenge of each situation, event, or action and got the mission done.

    — Early in July 2022, Fort McCoy held a special Community Leader Engagement on July 6 for civic leaders from several Wisconsin cities near the installation. Nearly two dozen community leaders from Tomah, Sparta, Black River Falls, Volk Field, La Crosse, and other nearby municipalities gathered at Fort McCoy to see the post’s mission first-hand and learn more about the Army mission at the installation.

    During their visit, the community leaders received a driving tour of the installation and made stops at the Combined Arms Collective Training Facility on South Post, Fort McCoy Commemorative Area, Fort McCoy Simulations Training Complex in the 200 block on the cantonment area, Garrison Headquarters, and at the dining facility in building 50 where they received a lunch.

    — The Fort McCoy newspaper is named The Real McCoy and on July 8, 2022, eight members of the real McCoy family associated with Maj. Gen. Robert Bruce McCoy for whom Fort McCoy is named came to the installation for a special visit.

    The entourage of McCoys was led by Maj. Gen. McCoy’s grandson — Alan McCoy of Sparta, Wis. Along with him were three of his daughters, a son, two sons in laws, and a daughter in law. The group visited the Fort McCoy Commemorative Area and the Fort McCoy History Center exclusively to see more about the history of the post as well as what history is available about their family. The group was hosted by Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. Michael Poss and the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office.

    “It’s great to have you here once again Mr. McCoy along with your family,” Poss said during the visit. “It truly is an honor.” The Fort McCoy History Center is loaded with information about Maj. Gen. McCoy’s career that includes numerous displays, personal artifacts, and more. Alan McCoy said he was happy he was able to visit the History Center, and more.

    “It was very informative,” McCoy said. “(I) did not know that was here like it is. I knew about the outside, but I didn’t know inside the buildings and a little afternoon doesn’t do it justice. There’s so much to see, you know, and I’m really appreciative of the opportunity to come out here today.”

    McCoy also talked about his family’s involvement in the area around the post for so many years.

    “Well, it’s all I’ve known growing up,” he said. “It started out as Camp McCoy for many years, and it’s always been in the background. And of course, my family has been military. ... My dad retired as a full colonel. So ... I’ve always known about the post.”

    When asked about his family name being part of an Army installation name, Alan said it was “a real honor.”

    “It’s great,” he said. “My grandfather was what you’d call a visionary. Not only was he a general, but he was the mayor of Sparta, he was a county judge back in his youth, and he was a baseball player.”

    Most of all, McCoy said he was glad his children could see more about their family history during the visit.

    “Thank you for everything shown to us today,” he said. “I’m sure the kids enjoyed it and opened their eyes (a bit).”

    — In a rare training event at Fort McCoy, aircrew with the Marine Corp’s Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 162 of Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., flew a pair of MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft July 12-14, 2022, at the installation for aerial gunnery training at the impact area on North Post.

    Airfield Operations Specialist Jon Finch with the Fort McCoy Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS) Airfield Division said the aircraft and crews stopped at the Sparta-Fort McCoy Airport July 13, 2022, to change out aircrew personnel during the training.

    And DPTMS Range Operations personnel said the Osprey aircraft flew in from Madison area each day to use the live-fire areas of the impact area for the gunnery training. According to the Marine Corps fact sheet for the MV-22, the primary function of the aircraft is for amphibious assault transport of troops, equipment, and supplies from assault ships and land bases. The manufacturer is Bell Boeing.

    — Nineteen members of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin visited Fort McCoy on July 13, 2022, to participate in a butterfly field day at the installation. The Fort McCoy coordination for the field trip was led by Endangered Species Biologist Jessup Weichelt with the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch.

    “The Natural Resources Foundation contacted me to determine if I was interested in hosting a field trip for their organization earlier this year,” Weichelt said. “We had them contact the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office, and once it was approved I worked with them to select a date and then had to develop an agenda for the day.”

    Weichelt planned to take the group to see butterfly habitat on Fort McCoy’s South Post.

    “My plan all along was to take the group to the Badger Drop Zone as it contains some of the best grassland habitat remaining in Wisconsin to view rare butterflies with a main focus on Regal Fritillaries, Ottoe Skippers, and Karner Blues,” Weichelt said.

    — Col. Stephen T. Messenger became the new commander of Fort McCoy Garrison on July 14, 2022, during a change-of-command ceremony at Veterans Memorial Plaza at the installation’s historic Commemorative Area.

    Messenger received the garrison flag from Brenda McCullough, director of U.S. Army Installation Management Command Directorate-Readiness. After taking command, Messenger said he’s ready for the challenge.

    “My family and I are humbled to lead here at this installation. ... I will work relentlessly on behalf of this installation to continue the great legacy of Soldier support, family advocacy, installation integration, and community involvement,” Messenger said. “The professionalism I have seen since I have arrived here is second to none,” he said. “It truly is the Total Force Training Center.”

    Messenger replaced Col. Michael D. Poss who became the garrison commander June 10, 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic in a virtual change-of-command ceremony. Poss moved on to serve in a position at the 88th Readiness Division — also at Fort McCoy. Messenger arrived after serving in his prior assignment as the director of engineering and logistics, J4, Joint Task Force Civil Support, Fort Eustis, Va., which was on the front lines of the nation’s COVID response.

    — Command Sgt. Maj. Deanna L. Czarnecki became the 14th commandant of the Fort McCoy Noncommissioned Officer Academy (NCOA) on July 14, 2022, during a special change-of-com-mandancy ceremony at the academy. The 83rd United States Army Reserve Readiness Training Center Commander, Col. Joseph L. Thomas, presided over the ceremony. Czarnecki took over responsibility as commandant from Command Sgt. Maj. Shane E. Larson. Larson was thanked for his dedication, leadership, and 24 years of service to the nation.

    — Members of the Fort McCoy Logistics Readiness Center (LRC) Transportation Division and Soldiers with the 107th Support Maintenance Company, a Wisconsin National Guard unit based in Sparta, teamed together July 20-21, 2022, to unload 24 rail-cars at Fort McCoy.

    The railcars were loaded with 83 pieces of equipment the 107th was bringing back from a training location away from Fort McCoy, said Dean. R. Muller, unit movement coordinator/traffic management specialist with Fort McCoy LRC.

    “The unit took about one and a half days to unload the railcars,” Muller said.

    — Marines and Navy Corpsmen with 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines (2/24) conducted a casualty care field exercise on North Post at Fort McCoy from July 22-23, 2022, as part of their annual training.

    The 2/24 is an infantry battalion based out of Chicago consisting of approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors. The battalion falls under the 23rd Marine Regiment and the 4th Marine Division. The training included mainly 2/24 Corpsmen conducting patrols with unit Marines serving as opposing forces. The “contact patrols” gave the medics an opportunity to get in some necessary field training while at the same time practicing their combat medical skills.

    “This was an effort to train on prolonged casualty care,” said Medical Officer Navy Lt. Toby Keeney-Bonthrone with the 2/24’s Headquarters and Service Company. “They had to move to the casualty, stabilize him, and then transport him to an exfiltration point over a 24-hour time period while constantly monitoring him.

    — Over the course of several days in late July, heavy equipment operators with the Army Reserve’s 390th Engineer Company (Vertical) completed the “coal field fill” troop project at Fort McCoy.

    The combat engineers who are based out of Chattanooga, Tenn., were at Fort McCoy for the Army Reserve’s and 78th Training Division’s Warrior Exercise 78-22-02.

    “We (were) conducting earth-moving operations to fill a coal pit that was an environmental hazard right close to the base,” said Engineering Officer 2nd Lt. Donovan McCaskill. “They’ve been trying to get this done for three years. However, this project provided an opportunity for us to reach one of our mission-essential tasks that we’re required to train on annually.”

    Fort McCoy Troop Projects Coordinator Larry Morrow with the Directorate of Public Works said the team of 390th Soldiers moved nearly 3,000 tons of dirt to cover an old coal field. The project area is in the Fort McCoy rail area next to State Highway 21 on the installation’s South Post.

    “They completed the job in 368 trips,” Morrow said. “They did an excellent job. We appreciate them taking the time out to work on the project and to also do it as well as they did.”

    McCaskill said they had excellent weather to complete the project, and that it was a good project for the unit’s Soldiers to get some training on.

    “We have a lot of green Soldiers, but they’ve been able to pick up skills, and they were able to improve their efficiency through doing all the loads,” McCaskill said.

    — Combat engineers with the Army Reserve’s 390th Engineer Company (Vertical) also worked on an ongoing troop construction project just outside the cantonment area fence at Fort McCoy. The project work is in an area of land near the old Gate 20 and Logistical Support Area Liberty and the cantonment area fence, said Troop Projects Coordinator Larry Morrow with the Fort McCoy Directorate of Public Works. The site plan is to make it into a base operations support site for installation service contractors, such as facility maintenance, roads and grounds, solid waste, custodial, pest management, and more, Morrow said. Soldiers with the 390th helped bulldoze parts of the project area to give unit members heavy equipment training, and more.

    — Maj. Gen. Matthew V. Baker became the new commanding general of the 88th Readiness Division and Fort McCoy’s new senior commander during a time-honored change-of-command ceremony on July 30, 2022, at Veterans Memorial Plaza in the historic Commemorative Area at Fort McCoy.

    As keeper of the division colors, Command Sgt. Maj. Gregory Betty, 88th Readiness Division’s (RD) command sergeant major, passed the colors to Maj. Gen. Darrell J. Guthrie, who passed them to Maj. Gen. Gregory Mosser, deputy commanding general of the U.S. Army Reserve Command, as a symbol of relinquishment of command. Moser passed the colors to Baker, symbolizing assumption of command. Finally, Baker passed the colors to back to Betty.

    Baker replaced Guthrie who became the 88th RD commander in July 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic in a virtual change-of-command ceremony.

    — Warrior Exercise (WAREX) 78-22-02, conducted at Fort McCoy through the month of July 2022, brought units and Soldiers from across the country to build on their readiness levels, states a story about the exercise by Staff Sgt. Erika Whitaker with 85th Support Command.

    The exercise, which trained and evaluated Soldiers on Army Warrior Skill-level 10 tasks through various training lanes and situational training exercises, increased readiness within participating units and supporting observer-coach/trainers (OC/Ts).

    “WAREX improves unit readiness through input from units,” said Maj. Tyjuan Campbell, WAREX planning officer, 78th Training Division. “Each exercise is built off the commander’s training objectives. Units let us know where they are in different areas. For example, whether they are red or amber. Through each planning conference, from the initial to final planning workshops, we’re working with the units to shape the exercise that’s going to increase their metrics.”

    — Hundreds of Marines and some Navy Corpsmen with the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marines (2/24) completed training at many training areas of Fort McCoy in July 2022, including Range 18 and Range 6 on North Post.

    And during that training, many praised the areas they were able to complete the training in and were appreciative of the support from Fort McCoy workforce members. From completing M4 rifle qualification tables to live-fire squad exercises to combat casualty care practice — the 2/24 Marines held a full complement of training events, said Cpl. Ben Gilley, who serves as the embarkation chief for the 2/24.

    The 2/24 is an infantry battalion based out of Chicago consisting of approximately 1,000 Marines and Sailors. The battalion falls under the 24th Marine Regiment and the 4th Marine Division.

    “This was our battalion annual training, which is a consolidated effort from all of our companies from throughout the battalion located throughout the Midwest,” Gilley said. “We come here to use a number of live-fire ranges, and that’s combined with (training for) transportation, mobility, and logistics as well.”

    Gilley said their unit appreciates working with Fort McCoy to complete the training.

    “Fort McCoy is one of the best bases I’ve been at,” Gilley said. “Everyone is super easy to work with. Everything is well maintained. ... We work mainly with the ASP (Ammunition Storage Point) in the drawing of ammo. The personnel down there at the ASP are exceptional professionals who always helps us out when possible.”

    — For several weeks in July, archaeological team members with the Fort McCoy Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch and the Colorado State University’s (CSU) Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands held a special archaeological survey and dig on South Post.

    The team did their survey in the South Post Housing Area, which also happens to be the oldest areas of the installation’s origins where Camp Robinson and Camp Emery-Upton once were located. In the actual location of the survey, however, the team was looking at areas around old concrete tent pads that were once part of Camp Robinson, said CSU Archaeologist Bill Thompson.

    “We believe these pads were put in probably between 1925 and 1939,” Thompson said. “Through this survey we are trying to figure out exactly when they were put in. Through the artifacts we are finding, it shows us that this does seem to be fitting into the time period that we believe it fits.”

    Ryan J. Howell, Fort McCoy’s cultural resource manager and garrison archaeologist, said they wanted to complete the archaeological work on South Post in part because of a planned construction project to building 6158 in 2023.

    “The area that is South Post Family Housing on today’s Fort McCoy sits on the original pre-World War II Camp McCoy and the even earlier pre-1926 Camp Robinson,” Howell said. “While documentary evidence in the form of early post maps and old photographs of these earlier military installations are available today, most of the actual physical remains of these camps have been removed by later construction.

    “One exception to this pattern is the area around the current family housing headquarters in building 6158, which was originally construct-ed as an instructor’s building in 1931,” Howell said. “This building and the surrounding tent pads to the east, along with some remnant foundations in the surrounding woods represents some of the last, most intact physical remnants of early World War I-era and Interwar-era — 1914 to 1940 — of Camp Robinson and Camp McCoy.

    “A proposed Americans with Disabilities Act modification project to building 6158 is planned for 2023,” Howell said. “This project will re-grade much of the area surrounding the building and will remove or bury some of the tent pads in the park lands to the east of the building. While the tent pads in and of themselves are not historically important, an associated archaeological dig — this dig — is being conducted to better document and understand them and salvage any artifacts left by the Soldiers, Civilian Conservation Corp members and Civilian Military Training Program participants who would have used the area during the early parts of the 20th century. Recovering these artifacts will hopefully provide a better understanding of the early period of use of Camp McCoy and the ‘field lives’ of the early Soldiers and civilians who trained and worked here in the early days of Fort McCoy’s service to the nation.”

    Thompson described some of the artifacts they were finding through metal detecting.

    “We were finding (rank) insignia, such as officer insignia,” Thompson said. “We were finding old .45 (cal.) slugs. We were also finding rope tensioners for tents that were out here on these pads. We found old coins, including a dime that dated to 1923, a penny that dated to 1913 I believe. We even found a handmade tent stake maybe about 70 years old. But probably the oldest artifacts we may have found were those rope tensioners that could date as far back as the Spanish-American War time frame to maybe World War I when the Army used those items.”

    — Police and fire personnel with Fort McCoy’s Directorate of Emergency Services (DES) took numerous vehicles and equipment to support the 19th annual Monroe County National Night Out event Aug. 2 in Tomah, Wis., and the first National Night Out event in Sparta, Wis.

    Hundreds of people attended each event. The Monroe County National Night Out was held for four hours at Tomah’s Recreation Park. It was the first time at that park due to work going on at the regular location. Sparta’s National Night Out event was held at the city’s Memorial Park.

    Introduced in 1984 by the National Association of Town Watch, National Night Out is a nonprofit crime-prevention organization that works in cooperation with thousands of crime-watch groups and law-enforcement agencies throughout the country. Representatives of the Tomah Police Department said local officials know it helps build relationships that help create safe communities.

    Fort McCoy DES had numerous pieces of equipment and vehicles as well as more than a dozen people from both the police and fire departments at both events. Fort McCoy police personnel also educated people about Operation Family Safe at the Monroe County National Night Out, which included EZ child-identification (ID) stations that provided ID materials for dozens of children.

    Fort McCoy Police Chief Brian Bomstein described the Fort McCoy support for National Night Out events.

    “We were out at the Monroe County National Night ... supporting the county being out in the community, and we brought a few things to display to show our capabilities,” Bomstein said. “We brought our M-razor and UTVs, our e-bike or electronic bike with pedal assist, snowmobile, four-wheeler, and our game trailers just to show everybody our capabilities. Our big draw is usually the child ID stations where we’re able to take children’s fingerprints and picture and in-put their data and give a CD or a document to their parents so that if they ever need to identify their children or need personal information — they’ve got it at their fingertips. We also had a UTV at the Sparta National Night Out where they were doing their own event.”

    — Maj. James L. Frangenberg became the new commandant for Regional Training Site (RTS)-Maintenance at Fort McCoy during a ceremony Aug. 11, 2022, in building 50 at the installation.
    As commandant, Frangenberg is responsible for overseeing 12 seperate ordnance-specific courses that support training of students of both active- and reserve-component forces annually.

    Frangenberg was commissioned in 2009 through Federal Officer Candidate School at Fort Benning, Ga., according to his biography. Upon completion of Transportation Officer School, Frangenberg was assigned to 87th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion (CSSB), 3rd Sustainment Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, Ga.

    While serving in and under the 3rd Sustainment Brigade from 2009-2015, Frangenberg served in the following positions — platoon leader with the 24th Modular Ammunition Company and mobility officer with the 495th Movement Control Team deployed forward to Afghanistan.

    Upon his return, he was selected to serve as the 87th CSSB HHD company commander, followed by serving as the chief of current operations in the 3rd Sustainment Brigade under the
    3rd Infantry Division. Frangenberg was released from active duty on June 1, 2015, and began serving in the Army Reserve in August 2016 where he was given command of the 455th Expeditionary Terminal Operations Element, his biography states.

    He also served in support of Deployment Support Command and Surface Deployment Distribution Command. In 2018, Frangenberg was mobilized under the theater security agreement and served in the 4th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Early Entry Command Post in Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, as a logistics plans and operations officer in support of U.S. Army North and related support operations, his biography shows. Upon acceptance into the Active Guard Reserve in 2019, Frangenberg served as S2/S3 for the 3rd Battalion, 397th Observer Coach/Trainer Regiment under the 86th Training Division responsible for training, assessing, and execution of culminating Combat Support Training Exercises

    — Seventeen months after, in August 2022, the construction of a second transient training troops barracks started at Fort McCoy, the Army Corps of Engineers-managed project surpassed 95 per-cent completion.

    In an Aug. 19, 2022 report, Ken Green with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office at Fort McCoy said the construction of a second four-story barracks is 96 percent complete and remains on schedule.

    The barracks, funded at $18.8 million in fiscal year (FY) 2020, resembles another barracks that was also built by current contractor L.S. Black Constructors that is adjacent to this project in the 1600 block at Fort McCoy’s cantonment area. The first barracks that was built by the same contractor was turned over to Fort McCoy’s Directorate of Public Works on April 1, 2022. Green said Aug. 19 that current work included exterior concrete work, exterior grading, mechanical yard fencing was being installed, systems were being worked on, and much more.

    — Hundreds of people visited Whitetail Ridge Ski Area on Aug. 20, 2022, for Fort McCoy’s 50th birthday celebration observing the creation of Pine View Campground and Pine View Recreation Area in 1972.

    The celebration, organized by the Fort McCoy Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, included children’s events from 2-5 p.m. in and around the Whitetail Ridge chalet. There were crafting activities indoors for families, the Ten Point Pub was open for everyone to enjoy, and outside there were inflatables and yard games for everyone to enjoy as well.

    There also was a sawdust pile dig, archery, and turtles and a slender glass lizard were available for viewing through the Fort McCoy Endangered Species Biologist Jessup Weichelt with the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch.

    “I thought the event went very well, and we were blessed with good weather considering all week it was forecasted possible thunderstorms all day,” Weichelt said. “Both kids and adults were very interested in the Western slender glass lizard I was able to catch. I don’t believe anyone that was at the event even knew a legless lizard existed in Wisconsin. I personally think the slender glass lizard is by far the most intriguing species that I get to manage, and it was awesome to be able to catch one for the event considering I have only caught three this entire year.

    “The kids really enjoyed getting to chase the turtles around in the grass and handle them while also learning about how we track them in the wild using telemetry,” Weichelt said.

    Originally the celebration was also going to include a concert with the country music duo Wester. But because severe weather conditions were originally forecasted, that part of the celebration was postponed and the concert with Wester was rescheduled to be held Sept. 3.

    “I thought the entire Pine View Campground team did an awesome job with this event, especially with some of the late changes needed due to the weather forecast,” said DFMWR’s Business and Recreation Division Chief Scott Abell. “We ended up with a sunny day after all and everyone seemed to have a great day.”

    — The Army Reserve’s 86th Training Division facilitated Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX) 86-22-02 at Fort McCoy from August 6 to 20, 2022, where training focused on the sustainer, states a story by Staff Sgt. Erika Whitaker with the 85th Support Command.

    Various scenarios helped both the training units and observer-coach/trainers (OC/Ts) improve their readiness capabilities. The multiday exercise consisted of home-station training lanes where convoying rotational training units were assessed on their ability to successfully complete four injects, or scenarios.

    The injects challenged Soldiers to perform first-aid amid hostile civilian crowds, react to opposition force ambushes, react to chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear attacks, and navigate difficult terrain during indirect and sniper fire.

    “We are building an environment that replicates what it will be like when we’re dealing with peer-to-peer conflicts in austere environments,” said Lt. Col. Charlie O’Connell, chief of operations, 86th Training Division. “We have the rotational training units (RTUs) and the 86th Training Division training partners who come in to help build that environment for the RTUs.”

    — Multiple Air Force Reserve personnel with the 908th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, 433rd Airlift Wing, 934th Airlift Wing, 349th Air Mobility Wing, and 514th Air Mobility Wing participated in an aeromedical evacuation training event Aug. 11, 2022, by loading a simulated patient on a C-130 Hercules aircraft while two helicopters flew overhead at Sparta-Fort McCoy Airport at Fort McCoy as part of both the 2022 Global Medic exercise and the 2022 Patriot Warrior exercise on post. Patriot Warrior is Air Force Reserve Command’s premier exercise providing Airmen an opportunity to train with joint and international partners in airlift, aeromedical evacuation, and mobility support. Hundreds of Airmen deployed to Fort McCoy in August 2022 to conduct the training.

    — Aviators, crewmembers, and support personnel with the 106th Aviation Regiment, Illinois Army National Guard, were at Fort Mc-Coy in early August operationally testing the UH–60V Blackhawk helicopter while preparing for an upcoming deployment, states a story by the U.S. Army Operational Test Command.

    The 106th completed their testing operations from the Sparta-Fort McCoy Airport. As the newest helicopter introduced into the Army’s inventory, the UH60-V began fielding to the 106th during 2021 following the unit’s selection as the Army’s first unit equipped “Victor” model testing completes a 24-month process from conception to reality for the Illinois Guard unit.

    Chief Warrant Officer 3 Brennon Links, a maintenance test pilot (MTP) from Mulberry Grove, Ill., said it was challenging, “Being a part of the first unit fielding for the Army. The 60V is a better version of what I like and am used to.”

    The UH–60V pairs a recapitalization of the combat proven UH–60L with the latest technologies available to provide enhanced information and capabilities to support the warfighter, according to James Adams, the aviation test officer tasked with developing and running the UH–60V test. Adams, with the Aviation Test Directorate of the Fort Hood, Texas-based U.S. Army Operational Test Command, spent two months establishing and conducting the test, under operationally realistic conditions. He said the data collected during testing will support an independent evaluation by the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command’s Army Evaluation Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

    — An Army Reserve medical unit was selected to be among the first to test a new technology Aug. 12, 2022, that allows supervisors to monitor Soldier health during exercise Global Medic at Fort McCoy, states a story by Spc. Frank Alcala with the Army Reserve.

    “Ten Soldiers from the 901st Minimal Care Detachment (MCD) of West Virginia have been selected to participate in a 72-hour test trial,” said Maj. Sanjay Krishnaswamy, commander of the 901st MCD.

    The U.S. Army Reserve Command realized the potential benefits with utilizing technology to monitor its Soldiers while using tracking. The Army Reserve partnered with LifeLens Technologies to test trial the Health Readiness and Performance System.

    “Our brigade commander, Col. Suarez of the 338th Medical Brigade, suggested that the 901st MCD might be a good unit to test out these eight trap sensors,” said Krishnaswamy. “And you see, I’m wearing one of the heart monitors today.”

    — Fort McCoy held its observance of Women’s Equality Day on Aug. 25 with a special event featuring guest speaker Carolyn Colleen at McCoy’s Community Center. The event, organized by Equal Opportunity Advisor Master Sgt. Ana Guzman with the Fort McCoy Garrison Equal Opportunity Office, recognizes the day the 19th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution was passed on Aug. 26, 1920, giving women the right to vote.

    At the United States Census Bureau website,, a snippet of the original Congressional Resolution for Women’s Equality Day from Aug. 26, 1973, was shared to provide a better idea about the day.

    “Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, that August 26, 1973, is designated as ‘Women’s Equality Day,’ and the President is authorized and requested to issue a proclamation in commemoration of that day in 1920 on which the women of America were first guaranteed the right to vote. Approved August 16, 1973.”

    At the 2022 Fort McCoy observance of Women’s Equality Day, author and domestic-violence survivor Colleen shared her personal story of perseverance and more. Colleen’s FIERCE 5 blueprint for domestic-violence recovery and future success is well known.

    In Colleen’s book, “F.I.E.R.C.E., Transform Your Life In The Face of Adversity 5 Minutes At A Time!,” it describes what the FIERCE acronym means.

    • Focused breath: take a deep breath, face fear, and focus.

    • Identify one goal; name three things required to achieve that goal.

    • Examine barriers to the goal.

    • Reflect and visualize your truths; co-create your own reality.

    • Courage: recognize that you have the courage.

    • Engage — take action.

    “Thank you for having me (here),” Colleen said. It’s an honor to stand before you and be here today. ... As a woman, as a CEO, as a leader, ... life was not always that way. We all have different adversities in life. Getting out of bed might be one of those adversities. Figuring out what to eat for lunch could be an adversity. Who knows what’s gonna happen after this? We have no idea because in life, a lot of times, you’re either in a storm, coming out of a storm, or you’re heading into one. It’s not necessarily that life gets easier — we just learn how to navigate better.”

    — The Fort McCoy Directorate of Emergency Services (DES) Fire Department was reaccredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International for the third time earlier in 2022.

    DES Director Mark Reaves, Fire Chief Tim Jorgensen, Assistant Fire Chief Brady Brever, Assistant Fire Chief Hunter Young, and Fire Prevention Inspector/Safety Officer Curt Ladwig
    traveled to Denver from Aug. 15-17, 2022, to complete the accreditation process and sit before a board.

    “This is our third time receiving this accreditation,” Jorgensen said. “Our first time receiving the accreditation was in 2012.”

    The accreditation process takes place every five years, Brever said. The Fort McCoy Fire Department is one of more than 200 agencies to achieve Internationally Accredited Agency status with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International and the Center for Public
    Safety Excellence.

    Brever discussed the accreditation process for the fire department.

    “It’s an international accreditation from a third party,” Brever said. “They are looking at the department as a whole and all the programs and processes that are in place to conduct business as a fire department. The accreditation process allows a fire department to review their programs and identify strengths in programs that are going well and weaknesses that provide opportunities for improvement. We see accreditation as a continuous improvement plan for the fire department to be able to provide the best emergency response to the community we serve and protect.”

    Brever also said the accreditation process begins with documentation. The three primary documents are the standards of cover, strategic plan, and self-assessment manual consisting of
    250 performance indicators. When complete, the documents are turned into a peer assessment team for review and evaluation. If the documents are approved, the peer assessment team schedules a site visit to the fire department.

    “The peer team spends a week with reviewing department documents, taking a look at our equipment, interviewing personnel in the department, and based on what they find, they write a report that either recommends the department for accreditation or recommends they differ and continue working on their documentation,” Brever said. “Our peer team assessed us and determined that we met all criteria, and our documentation was correct. We were referred
    to appear before the accreditation board in Denver. The board reviews the peer assessment team report and asks follow-on questions.”

    — A new memorial stands at the Wisconsin State Patrol Academy at Fort McCoy as a tribute to eight state troopers who lost their lives on duty. The Wisconsin State Patrol officially dedicated the monument during a ceremony Sept. 9, 2022, at the State Patrol Academy at Fort McCoy, states a news story from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.

    State leaders, family members, and former State Patrol officers attended the ceremony to pay their respects. The memorial lists the names of eight troopers killed throughout the 83-year history of the State Patrol. All died while carrying out their duty to serve the people of Wisconsin. This is the first memorial dedicated solely in their honor.

    “Law enforcement officers put our safety ahead of their own, which is truly remarkable. We are thankful every day for their sacrifices to keep our highways safe,” Wisconsin Department of Transportation Secretary Craig Thompson said. “We know their contributions mattered. There are many who are alive and safe today because these fallen troopers were carrying out the vital mission of the State Patrol.”

    The Wisconsin State Patrol, a division of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, has served the state since its inception in 1939. Nearly 500 sworn officers and additional support staff are employed to fulfill the agency’s public safety goals.

    “This memorial is a daily reminder of our fallen heroes, the ones many of us knew and still mourn,” State Patrol Superintendent Tim Carnahan said. “It will serve as a somber inspiration to our next generation; the future officers who train here at the academy every year, working towards their opportunity to wear the same badge.”

    — For the first time since September 2019, Fort McCoy held a Retiree Appreciation Day (RAD) for military retirees Sept. 9, 2022, at the installation and hundreds of retirees and their spouses attended. The guests for the 2022 RAD had a day filled with activities open to them as well, including a welcome from Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. Stephen Messenger as well as briefings from numerous guest speakers.

    This year’s event was also held in a new venue. In past years, the event was held in building 905. This year, the event was held in building 2472 — one of the newer dining facilities recently
    built at Fort McCoy.

    “I thought it worked well and had plenty of space for the event,” said Fort McCoy Retirement Services Officer Brent Johnson with the Directorate of Human Resources. “We found that
    our guests were able to find plenty of parking, and they were able to find the location. We’ll also take what we receive from our feedback from this event and incorporate it to make next year’s
    event even better.

    “The ultimate goal of the Retiree Appreciation Day is to bring together those military retirees and give them an opportunity to receive some of the most up-to-date information on the benefits
    they are entitled to with a seminar setting followed by a retiree benefits vendor expo,” Johnson said.

    In addition to all the activities in building 2472, RAD attendees also were able to purchase discounted items during a special side walk sale at the Fort McCoy Commissary. Many attendees also shopped at the Fort McCoy Exchange for items and purchased lunch at the Exchange Food Court and McCoy’s Community Center.

    And at Fort McCoy’s Commemorative Area, which was open from noon to 4 p.m. on the afternoon of the 2022 RAD, dozens of guests visited the area.

    “It was nice to have the visitors come by the Commemorative Area and see everything here,” said Public Affairs Specialist Kaleen Holliday with the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office.
    “Some had last been to the Commemorative Area when they were at the last Retiree Appreciation Day and were happy to be back to see more. I also enjoyed having the retirees coming to share their stories about Fort McCoy, especially Camp McCoy or other service locations.”

    One of those military retirees making a return trip to Fort McCoy was Charles Benbenek of Hazelhurst, Wis., who is retired from the Army. Benbenek attended the RAD and visited the Commemorative Area.

    “I thought it was a good event,” Benbenek said. “I spent a lot of time here in the ‘70s with the 724th Engineer Battalion. We did quite a few projects around the post.”

    Benbenek said he had last been to Fort McCoy 15 years ago so attending the RAD and visiting everything brought back plenty of memories. “It was nice to come back,” he said.

    — Contractor L.S. Black Constructors broke ground and was well under way in starting construction on a new $11.96 million transient training brigade headquarters at Fort McCoy in early September.

    A contract, totaling $11,964,432.87, was awarded June 9, 2022, to L.S. Black Constructors to
    build the fiscal year (FY) 2022 Transient Training Brigade Headquarters project at Fort McCoy, said Ken Green with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Office at Fort McCoy. The notice to proceed on the project was given on June 24. The contract duration is scheduled for completion in 540 calendar days with a completion date currently of Dec. 16, 2023, Green said.

    In a Sept. 9 report about the construction, Green said the first main project being tackled
    was infrastructure. “Work on the sewer system has started,” he said.

    Progress was under 5 percent complete, but will continue now at a steady pace, Green said.
    The location of construction is directly north of 11th Avenue and just west of the building
    1671 on post, and just across the street from where the same contractor has been building
    two new transient training troop barracks buildings in the same block.

    According to the Fort McCoy Directorate of Public Works, the brigade headquarters project is based on the denser, more consolidated footprints of Fort McCoy’s Troop Housing Area Development Plan which states “fewer, multiple story buildings allow facilities/functions to be sited closer together, allowing for a more walkable training environment, as well as saving money on utilities.”

    — Ken Green with the Army Corps of Engineers Resident Office at Fort McCoy said Sept. 2, 2022, that final exterior landscaping and grading was completed next to the fiscal year (FY) 2020 transient training troops barracks project at Fort McCoy.

    Green, who made the announcement as part of a weekly update about the project, said in the report the construction of a second four-story barracks was 97 percent complete. On the exterior grading, he said it the contractor was “getting the site up to finish grade.”

    In late August and early September, an excavator, dozer, and dump trucks were operating with contractors on the land surrounding the barracks busily leveling off the area to specifications. The work occurred over several days. According to Green, it’s part of the process to completing the entire project. The barracks, funded at $18.8 million in FY 2020, resembles another barracks that was also built by current contractor L.S. Black Constructors that is adjacent to this project in the 1600 block at Fort McCoy’s cantonment area. The first barracks that was built by the same contractor was turned over to Fort McCoy’s Directorate of Public Works on April 1. Green said Sept. 2 that other work on the barracks project included exterior concrete work, mechanical yard fencing, systems updates, and more.

    — Fort McCoy Garrison’s senior enlisted leader, Command Sgt. Maj. Raquel DiDomenico, served as one of 50 guardian escorts Sept. 10 for nearly 100 veterans who were part of the most recent Freedom Honor Flight from La Crosse, Wis., to Washington, D.C.

    Freedom Honor Flight is a La Crosse-based organization founded in April 2008, said Patti Lokken, a founding board member of the organization. The organization’s goal is to fly veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorials that stand in their honor.

    “When we started out in 2008, we were flying mainly World War II veterans,” Lokken said. “Now we are still flying World War II veterans first, and then Korean War veterans, and Vietnam War veterans after that. The flight we held on Sept. 10 was our 27th flight, so we’ve flown thousands of veterans so far.”

    DiDomenico said she was proud to be a part of the latest flight. With her group of six Korean War veterans and 93 Vietnam War veterans, they visited all of the special memorials in
    Washington and Arlington, Va., areas, including the Air Force Memorial, Marine Corps Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington Monument, Korean War Veterans Memorial, Women in Military Service to America Memorial, World War II Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier for the Changing of the Guard ceremony.

    “I was the guardian for Mr. John ‘First Class Jack’ Westgard from Rochester, Minn.,” said
    DiDomenico. “It is a humbling experience, hanging out with these veterans. They get up in credibly early for the 6 a.m. chartered flight out of La Crosse. They see the whirlwind of sites
    throughout the day.

    “Then, they return late at night, and you can see their faces light up when they see the Welcome Home party in their honor,” DiDomenico said. “The entire day is completely free for the veteran, including meals. There are plenty of donations from extremely generous supporters and an awesome display of selfless service from a huge team of coordinators.”

    — In 1990, David Beckmann started working at Fort McCoy as a biological technician trainee through the installation’s Cooperative Education Program while still in school at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

    At that time, he did not really think he would end up staying at the post for 32 years. After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree from Stevens Point in biology in 1994, he continued
    to do the biological trainee position for many more years while pursuing a graduate degree.

    “When I started here, I was still in college at Stevens Point,” Beckmann said. “And the plan initially was to come in work for a few years, get my degree, and move on to other positions. But Fort McCoy kind of kept me here because it’s a unique chunk of land.”

    In 2002, Beckmann continued his support to the Fort McCoy wildlife management program as a contractor for five years. By 2007, Beckmann was then hired as a staff wildlife biologist at Fort McCoy where he worked with the Directorate of Public Works Environmental Division Natural Resources Branch.

    Beckmann officially retired Sept. 30, 2022. He said he will miss seeing people he has seen coming to Fort McCoy for the gun-deer seasons for the past three decades, and he’ll miss working with his teammates. But he’s also looking forward to what’s next.

    — Fort McCoy held its annual observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month on Sept. 15 at McCoy’s Community Center with a special event led by a guest speaker from Chicago. The guest speaker for the event was Counselor Carmella Navarro, who has experience working with the Army Reserve’s 85th Support Command and much more as a licensed clinical professional counselor. Navarro shared many personal experiences in her presentation.

    “The definition of courage is the ability to do something that frightens oneself,” Navarro said. “And most of my career has been connecting to others and also allowing others to see where
    working through the hard stuff really leads to great connections.”

    Navarro’s presentation was about “connection,” which also reflects the 2022 Department of Defense theme for National Hispanic Heritage Month — “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger

    “Unidos can be roughly translated to mean united, connected, or close,” states a presentation by the Department of Defense (DOD) Equal Opportunity Management Institute (DEOMI). “This concept of unity and togetherness giving us strength is one that has been long held by the DOD. It is a driving factor in our strive for inclusivity and equal opportunity.”

    According to DEOMI, National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. Each year the DOD, along with the rest of the nation, recognizes the important contributions and rich culture of Hispanic Americans. Coinciding with important dates in many communities, such as various independence days in Latin America, Hispanic Heritage Month is one of the only DOD cultural observances which spans over multiple months.

    As a counselor, Navarro, who has Latin American heritage, relayed how she’s worked with many people to build connections. She also shared something that was difficult for to do but was also very rewarding.

    “Connection with intention does involve being courageous,” Navarro said. “We must do hard things to move forward through hard stuff and remain resilient but that’s easier said than done. ...
    One of the hardest things I can share with you is when my when my ex-husband and I first started to think about starting a family. We went through an experience of infertility for about seven years, and we decided to adopt, and we wanted to adopt from one of the Latin American countries. At the time, Guatemala was an open country where you could go to adopt children.

    “So we started the process,” Navarro said. “It actually took us nine months to get my son home. But nine months later we brought home my son. He was six months old at the time, and that was a tough experience going to another country where we didn’t really speak the language.”

    Navarro also talked about growing up in Chicago. “So growing up, I didn’t really think I was different,” Navarro said. “Until about probably fifth or sixth grade, when some bullying started, and you know my skin color was different. My hair is definitely different. Thank God it’s not humid — it would be a lot bigger. And in the 80s, right? In the 80s, we all, well some of
    us seasoned people had ore hair, big hair. So definitely about 5 percent of my elementary and high school was primarily ... either Latin American, Argentinean, Puerto Rican, Mexican. And you know bullying didn’t really bother me so much. My father was in the Army, and he raised two girls and was pretty strict and ... taught us to kind of hold our own.

    “But it was different for me being on both sides of the fence at times,” Navarro said. “When I was in my neighborhood it was like I was a coconut. Like a brown girl with little white inside. But when I was in my family’s neighborhood ... I wasn’t Mexican enough. So I’m like, okay, where do I figure?”

    But Navarro did find her way to be a successful counselor to this day. From the “80s” girl with “big hair” to now having worked is many different areas. According to her biography, Navarro’s career began in 1991 working with the Community Crisis Center in Elgin, Ill.

    — Service members and families enjoyed free food, music, and more during the Military Appreciation event Sept. 15, 2022, at Patriot Park at the South Post Housing area at Fort McCoy.
    Dozens of people participated in the event that was organized by the Sparta (Wis.) Chamber of Commerce. Many other organizations also supported the event as well to include the Fort
    McCoy Exchange and USO Wisconsin.

    — Entertainers with the group Wester performed a free concert Sept. 3 for the Fort McCoy community at Whitetail Ridge Ski Area at Fort McCoy. The concert was a continuing celebration of the 50th birthday of the Pine View Recreation Area. It was also a highlight event at Fort McCoy for Labor Day Weekend as Pine View Campground was full of campers once again, and the concert gave the campground’s many guests a place to enjoy some of Nashville’s newest country sounds with Wester.

    Pearl Clarkin took the lead singing duties for the concert for Wester as her brother was unable to participate due to illness.

    “She put on a great performance,” said Liz Faber, marketing director with the Fort McCoy Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation (DFMWR) — the organization on post that coordinated the event.



    Date Taken: 01.21.2023
    Date Posted: 01.21.2023 02:26
    Story ID: 437044
    Location: FORT MCCOY, WI, US 

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