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    This Month in Fort McCoy History — January 2024

    This Month in Fort McCoy History — January 2024

    Courtesy Photo | This is a news clipping from the Jan. 25, 2019, edition of The Real McCoy newspaper at...... read more read more

    Fort McCoy, Wis., was established in 1909. Here is a look back at some installation history from January 2024 and back.

    80 Years Ago — January 1944
    FROM THE JAN. 15, 1944, EDITION OF THE REAL MCCOY NEWSPAPER: 562nd learns ‘anti-freeze;’ two-day bivouac test mastered successfully by battalion — A definite “break” in the weather last week brought a successful climax to two weeks of rugged winter training for personnel of the 562nd Anti-Aircraft Battalion.

    The break came when the temperature dropped to 20 below zero while the unit, under command of Lt. Lee E. Isreall, was experiencing the two-day and night winter maneuver bivouac in the southwest sector of the post.

    Troops of the battalion met the rigid test successfully, putting into use the subjects learned the previous two weeks on rigors of winter bivouacking. The severe change in weather also afforded troops opportunity to put their winter equipment and clothing to full use.

    FROM THE JAN. 29, 1944, EDITION OF THE REAL MCCOY NEWSPAPER: 5 Austrian ski stars reunited in 76th Division; Sun Valley, Yosemite men teach here — Five of the world’s finest skiers born in Tyrol, Austria, who grew up together as youths and excelled in the sport, (who) later came to the United States and were separated, are once again reunited as ski instructors of the Mountain Training Group now attached to the 76th Infantry Division.

    Reunion in the 76th Division was a real thrill for the quintet of ski stars who are now imparting their knowledge to Soldiers who may some day use winter equipment in combat zones.

    The men are Cpls. Ludwig Foeger, Friedl Pfeifer, Tony Matt, Herbert Schneider, and Otto T. Schol. All five studied under the late Hans Schneider, Herbert’s father, considered one of the world’s finest ski instructors. He invented the Arlberg method of skiing which has been adopted officially by the Army. Foeger and Pfeifer are attached to the 301st Engineer Battalion.

    Cpl. Foeger, a professional skier for 21 years, was first assistant to Schneider. Five years prior to his induction he headed the famed ski school at Yosemite National Park. … Pfeifer claims 18 years of ski schooling. He headed the ski school at Sun Valley, Idaho, for four years before donning khaki.

    30 Years Ago — January 1994
    FROM THE JAN. 14, 1994, EDITION OF THE REAL MCCOY NEWSPAPER: Fire destroys triplex; losses set at $750,000 — An early morning fire Dec. 29, 1993, totally destroyed a triplex in the 2100 block at Fort McCoy and caused an estimated $750,000 of damage.

    The fire was reported at about 12:45 a.m. by an employee at the post’s Billeting Office, which is located near the triplex.

    Fort McCoy Fire Chief Dave Biondi said brisk winds quickly spread the fire throughout the wooden-frame structure. When firefighters arrived shortly after the fire began, they directed their efforts to keeping the fire from spreading. The Fort McCoy Fire Department was assisted by units from Tomah and Sparta City Fire Departments, along with rural departments from Sparta and Oakdale (LaGrange).

    Firefighters were on the scene until 6 a.m. The 18,000-square-foot World War II-era triplex, buildings 2164, 2165, and 2166, was undergoing extensive renovation to be used as an administrative center for the Directorate of Logistics. About 75 percent of the $300,000 remodeling project was done.

    FROM THE JAN. 14, 1994, EDITION OF THE TRIAD NEWSPAPER: Barracks now located centrally — Rehabilitating building 1660 at Fort McCoy is the first step in centrally locating single/unaccompanied Soldier housing at Fort McCoy in buildings 1657-1661 and 1680, said Installation Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry Clark.

    The idea behind the plan is to place Soldiers where they have convenient access to the Main Post Exchange, the Center Court, the Military Clothing and Alterations Shops, the Barber/Beauty Shop, the branch post office and the automatic teller machine, and other amenities.

    Wenzel Felber, Directorate of Engineering mechanical/structural planner/estimator, said the setup is much like the central spoke arrangement in use at many installations.

    The major component is in the middle, and the supporting/coordinating areas branch out like spokes on a wheel, he said.

    Staff Sgt. Dennis Clinard, the post’s Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers (BOSS) president, said he hopes the BOSS Barracks project is the first of a number of rehabilitated barracks in the area.

    “We still have a number of soldiers who live in outdated conditions,” he said. During a recent BOSS Training Conference he attended at Colorado Springs, Colo., Clinard said the No. 1 BOSS issue Annywide was living conditions for single Soldiers.

    The cooperative effort and hard work of DE, the Directorate of Logistics and the BOSS Committee, along with strong command support made the barracks project a reality, Clinard said.

    20 Years Ago — January 2004
    FROM THE JAN. 23, 2004, EDITION OF THE TRIAD NEWSPAPER: Maintenance battalion hones skills at McCoy — The 521st Maintenance Battalion of Milwaukee has used Fort McCoy extensively during the past few years to conduct training for its aligned units and to help prepare the members of those units for various deployments or other missions.

    Lt. Col. Robert Rauchle, commander for the 521st, a U.S. Army Reserve unit, said Fort McCoy has proved to be a convenient location for the battalions’ two ammunition companies, the 395th Ordnance Company of Appleton, Wis., and the 826th Ordnance Company of Madison, Wis., to conduct their ammunition training.

    “Different elements from the units in our battalion usually are at Fort McCoy two or three times a month to conduct training,” Rauchle said. “We hold field training exercises there four times a year.”

    The companies need to effectively and realistically train on their ammunition Mission Essential Task Lisk tasks (METL) at a facility where it is possible to conduct several ammunition handling and supply tasks simultaneously, he said.

    The METL tasks are to exercise materiel handling equipment and palletized loading system vehicles and to conduct training with the Standard Ammunition System-Modified, the Army’s computerized ammunition stock control system.

    The training area also had to have a place where the unit could have its vehicles and other equipment pre-staged, maintained and stored over a period of time. The Equipment Concentration Site (ECS)-67, located at Fort McCoy, provides these services.

    Jerry Hale, Ammunition Supply Point (ASP) manager for Griffin Services Inc., contractor for the Fort McCoy Directorate of Support Services, said the Fort McCoy ASP furnishes empty ammunition containers and other logistical support to the units upon request.

    Rauchle said Fort McCoy provides all of these services and a dedicated area that can serve as a field ASP. The units have dubbed the ASP Area 55, after 55B, which is the ammunition handlers’ military occupational specialty designator skill. The area has been organized into individual ammunition storage areas and contains inert ammunition.

    10 Years Ago — January 2014
    FROM THE JAN. 24, 2014, EDITION OF THE REAL MCCOY NEWSPAPER: Fire marshals — ‘Eyes, ears’ for post facilities (By Scott T. Sturkol, Public Affairs Staff — Post fire inspector Curt Ladwig brought together dozens of people for fire prevention and safety during fire marshal training Jan. 14. The class was the first of six scheduled for 2014.

    Ladwig, the only fire inspector for Fort McCoy at the Directorate of Emergency Services (DES) Fire Department, led the annual effort, which trains people in everything from fire extinguisher inspections to keeping exit doors clear in case of a fire.

    “We have a fire marshal for every occupied building on Fort McCoy,” Ladwig said. “The fire marshals are my ‘eyes and ears’ who help keep our facilities safe throughout the post.”

    During their training, the appointed fire marshals watched a video about how quickly fire can spread throughout a building and how to respond. They were also trained on every aspect of a fire extinguisher and how to inspect them, how to keep egress and exit paths clear from improper storage according to established fire code and overall fire safety practices.

    Approximately 200 or more people are appointed fire marshals at Fort McCoy, Ladwig said. The training is an annual requirement to keep people aware of the latest fire safety techniques and processes.

    5 Years Ago — January 2019
    FROM THE JAN. 25, 2019, EDITION OF THE REAL MCCOY NEWSPAPER: Learning to ski among important basic skills taught during Cold-Weather Operations Course training at Fort McCoy (By Scott T. Sturkol, Public Affairs Staff) — In each class for the Cold-Weather Operations Course (CWOC) at Fort McCoy, students receive approximately 16 hours of training in skiing — one of the longest lengths of training time allotted for a skill set in the course.

    The skiing training is completed at Fort McCoy’s Whitetail Ridge Ski Area of the Pine View Recreation Area. The ski area offers plenty of snow to complete the lessons, is quickly accessible, and is well maintained, said CWOC Instructor Joe Ernst, who works for contractor Veterans Range Solutions, which supports the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.

    Ernst said the ability to ski is critical for students.

    “Skiing is a primary method of travel in an extreme cold-weather environment,” Ernst said. “We teach our students to do this by utilizing currently issued equipment and through a step-by-step approach.”

    The first eight hours the students train on skis is learning how the equipment works and how to move on the skis, Ernst said. The second day of training is more about the students learning how to build the basic skills they learned on the first day.

    “We get a lot of students — I would say the majority of our students — who have never skied before,” Ernst said. “So, essentially, when they come here, they are starting from scratch. By the end of the skiing training, I would say on average that at least 90 percent of the students, maybe more, are competent in using the equipment.”

    For the 2018-19 winter training season for CWOC, Fort McCoy purchased the latest type of skis for students to use.

    The skis are slightly shorter than traditional Army skis used by service members for cold-weather operations, and the skis have better bindings, Ernst said.

    “The students seem to be able to use these new ones better than the old ones,” he said. “The bindings seem to be more user friendly.”

    Staff Sgt. Alexander Bess, a student in CWOC Class 19-01 and an instructor with the Fort McCoy Noncommissioned Officer Academy, said that overall, the course helped him build teamwork skills and made everyone in the course reach a higher level of understanding when working in unfamiliar environments.

    “It made me not like the cold a little more, but I know I can operate in it (now) a little better,” Bess said. “The skiing and snowshoeing training were great blocks of instruction.”

    Staff Sgt. Kelly O’Connor-Nagel with the 452nd Combat Support Hospital of Fort Snelling, Minn., also learned to ski and completed the course with class 19-01.

    “This course was such a learning experience and really helped me,” O’Connor-Nagel said. “The instructors were phenomenal, knowledgeable, and so helpful. I am very happy I attended this course. It was very challenging mentally, physically, and emotionally.”

    CWOC students complete 14 days of training that includes a wide range of cold-weather subjects in addition to skiing, including snowshoe training, how to use ahkio sleds, and setting up the Arctic 10-person cold-weather tent.

    Training also focuses on terrain and weather analysis, risk management, proper wear of cold-weather clothing, developing winter fighting positions in the field, camouflage and concealment, and more.

    Fort McCoy’s CWOC is modeled after the Cold-Weather Leader Course, which is taught by the Army Northern Warfare Training Center at Black Rapids, Alaska, said instructor Bill Hamilton.

    Overall, six classes of CWOC are part of the 2018-19 training season between December and March.

    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 https://home.army.mil/mccoy, 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. Fort McCoy is also part of Army’s Installation Management Command where “We Are The Army’s Home.”

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

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 01.23.2024
    Date Posted: 01.23.2024 17:25
    Story ID: 462301
    Location: FORT MCCOY, WI, US

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