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    This Month in Fort McCoy History — August 2023

    This Month in Fort McCoy History — August

    Courtesy Photo | This is a news clipping from the Aug. 14, 1943, edition of The Real McCoy newspaper at...... read more read more



    Courtesy Story

    Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office           

    Fort McCoy, Wis., was established in 1909. Here is a look back at some installation history from August 2023 and back.

    80 Years Ago — August 1943
    FROM THE AUG. 7, 1943, EDITION OF THE REAL MCCOY NEWSPAPER: Nurses dodge bombs in sky-defense drill here (By Sgt. William Norton) — Air attack with zooming planes screaming bombs earth-ward on their marching columns is on the varied curriculum of about 100 Army nurses taking an Army indoctrination course at the Station Hospital in preparation for overseas service.

    So realistic was their latest sky-defense practice that a number of direct hits by the flour sack bombs sent several nurses sprawling. Three observation planes of 2nd Artillery battalions furnished through the courtesy of Brig. Gen. G. P. Hays made up the attacking “enemy” air fleet.

    The nurses at the head of marching column were the most tempting targets for the planes overhead. Swinging along behind were about 25 medical department officers and 300 enlisted medics. Every week medical personnel of the hospital take a training hike of at least five miles.

    Simulated gas attack: The drone of the cruising planes was audible during most of the march. Occasionally, they would suddenly flash past and downwards. The warping whistles of the commanding officers were hardly necessary to send the columns scattering into the brush on either side of the road as the planes attacked and let loose their harmless “bombs.” Scrambling to escape in the roadside, all the marchers put on their gas masks in a matter of seconds, before sprawling prone.

    FROM THE AUG. 14, 1943, EDITION OF THE REAL MCCOY NEWSPAPER: 500 Soldiers to harvest fields in North Dakota — Approximately 500 troops from Camp McCoy left Tuesday morning to work in the harvest fields in North Dakota. There are some 5,100 Soldiers from seven northwest states being released by the Army for emergency harvest period.

    The Soldiers will earn the prevailing wage rates in the harvest fields, but this money will be collected by the Department of Agriculture and turned over to the U.S. Treasury. The Soldiers will receive their regular pay.

    The harvesting is considered part of the military duties of the Soldiers, and they will be lodged in camps near the wheat fields and will remain under military control during their stay in the fields. The Army has set a limit of 20 days for troops working in the fields, and they may remain that long before they will have to return to their home bases to resume their regular Army duties.

    60 Years Ago — August 1963
    FROM THE AUG. 23, 1963, EDITION OF THE REAL MCCOY NEWSPAPER: Gophers low on chow — Cpl. Jones of the 5011th U.S. Army Garrison, Camp McCoy, recently purchased six new T-shirts. In an attempt to dry them after their first wash, he 'placed them on the grass to dry. Cpl. Jones returned to pick up his 1aundry and found that the new T-shirts resembled a piece of Wisconsin Swiss Cheese. The little gophers seemed to have acquired a taste for new, clean T-shirts.

    Your Post Finance — Camp McCoy’s Finance Office operates just five and one-half months of
    the year, but in this short period cash distribution will total $5,000,000 in 1963. Roughly 12,000
    Regular Army, Reserve and National Guard troops will have received their pay at McCoy when the office closes its cages early in September. This summer the office is manned by men from the 13th Finance Disbursing Section, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis, Ind.

    50 Years Ago — August 1973
    still testing — The 75th Maneuver Area Command from Houston, Texas is conducting Army Training Tests at Camp McCoy. The tests are being conducted for the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment 472nd Chemical Battalion (Smoke Generating) from Chicago and the 379th Chemical Company (Smoke Generating) also from Chicago.

    The 75th USA MAC planned, prepared, and conducted the Army Training Test. A nucleus of seven officers and one enlisted man from the 75th MAC was augmented with nine officers and 14 enlisted men from the reserve pool. The exercise director is Maj. Bobby F. Watkins, the Chief Umpire is Maj. Horace G. Cude for the battalion and John Mairks for the company.

    40 Years Ago — August 1983
    floating bridge (Story by newspaper staff) — For the first time in recent years, Company B, of the 682nd Engineer Battalion from Lawrenceville, Ill., pushes for the ARTEP time of 45 minutes for the complete set up of the light tactical raft (bridge).

    The raft is what the Army refers to as a class 12, which means it can carry one two-and-a-half-ton truck with a trailer, four quarter-ton jeeps, or one armored personnel carrier. For their ARTEP try at it, the raft was completed in 28 minutes and 40 seconds. Bravo Company beat the last two companies that built it together by eight seconds.

    “When we finish a project, we can back off and see it, everyone else only has sore feet,”
    said Lt. Hamilton.

    Combat Engineers are responsible for the movement of troops, as far as roads, bridges, inefields,
    etc. and pure water supplies. They are a vital support element of the infantry and other fighting troops, essential to any successful mission. This part of the Illinois Army National Guard fulfills that mission very well, indeed.

    30 Years Ago — August 1993
    FROM THE AUG. 27, 1993, EDITION OF THE TRIAD NEWSPAPER: 205th tackles tough training (By Rob Schuette) — More than 1,800 Reservists with the 205th Light Infantry Brigade of Fort Snelling, Minn., had a chance to familiarize themselves with a variety of combat situations during their annual training (AT) Aug. 7-21 at Fort McCoy.

    The scenarios covered everything from battalion and brigade level decisions during
    a defensive exercise to training squads and platoons at varying tasks, such as movement to contact and reacting to snipers, artillery fire and ambushes.

    Capt. Jeff Skramstad, the 205th's assistant Training and Operations officer, said each training event - be it on a realistic looking sand table battlefield or actual use of Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES) equipment — was rehearsed carefully before it was done.

    “The sand table makes the battle come alive for the leaders without actually having them go down to the field,” he said. “They can base their strategy on what they think the enemy will do and see the ‘results’ of ‘their decisions.’”

    First Lt. James Liermann, the 3rd Platoon leader of the 79th Military Police Company of Rochester, Minn., said his platoon provided security for main supply routes, escorted VIPs and ensured supplies moved from the front to the rear battle areas. The 79th was attached to the 205th for AT.

    “We got a lot of good training in,” he said. “We also learned the responsibility of defending against a rear battle.”

    Sgt. Phil Fishbaugher of the 205th’s (Medical) Company C said he got to treat a number of medical concerns. “I got to see heat exhaustion cases and lacerations,” he said. “It was very interesting to take what you learn at the unit level and use it during AT.”

    5 Years Ago — August 2018
    FROM THE AUG. 10, 2018, EDITION OF THE REAL MCCOY NEWSPAPER: Thousands to train at Fort McCoy in August during CSTX 86-18-02, other training (By Scott T. Sturkol) — August will likely be one of the busiest training months of 2018 at Fort McCoy with thousands of troops coming to the installation for the 86th Training Division’s Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX) 86-18-02, Global Medic and Diamond Saber exercises; and weekend, institutional, and extended combat training.

    “August is shaping up to be very busy at the installation,” said Training Coordination Branch Chief Craig Meeusen with the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security. “With the exercises alone, throughout the month, we could see nearly 11,000 troops come here.”

    All the training combined could possibly reach 14,000 troops completing training on post.

    “While most will be here for the CSTX and Global Medic, many of our institutional training partners will also have courses going on,” Meeusen said. “We will be busy here and the Fort McCoy team will be ready to support.”

    The 86th is conducting the August CSTX as part of the 84th Training Command from Aug. 4-24. It is a multinational exercise, including Canadian armed-forces members, and a multiservice exercise as it will include Army, Navy, and Air Force troops participating, according to the 84th.

    During fiscal year 2018, the 84th is hosting four CSTXs and a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear response exercise. CSTX 86-18-02 is the second of two CSTXs taking place at Fort McCoy this year.

    Also according to the 84th, a CSTX is part of its Combat Support Training Program (CSTP). CSTP exercises are large-scale training exercises where units-of-action 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.”

    All the training activity planned for August follows a busy June and July at the installation. During June, CSTX 86-18-04 saw thousands of Soldiers training in field conditions in multiple training areas on North Post and South Post as well as the cantonment area.

    In July, the 2018 Patriot North exercise was held with hundreds of personnel from the National Guard Bureau and federal and state agencies training on South Post in several areas.

    Also in July, two rotations of the military police-centric Guardian Justice exercise included hundreds of Soldiers training on Fort McCoy live-fire ranges and training areas.

    “We’re definitely on pace for another year of high training numbers on post,” Meeusen said. During fiscal year 2017, a record 155,975 troops trained at Fort McCoy.

    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.

    (Article prepared by the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office.)



    Date Taken: 08.23.2023
    Date Posted: 08.23.2023 01:13
    Story ID: 451942
    Location: FORT MCCOY, WI, US

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