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Operation Cold Steel II continues training of lethal Army Reserve Soldiers

By Staff Sgt. Debralee Best | 84th Training Command | March 5, 2018

FORT McCOY, Wis. — Operation Cold Steel II will kicked off its second iteration at Fort McCoy, Wis., on Feb. 19, 2018. The third iteration at Fort Knox, Ky., began shortly after on March 1.

The first iteration spanned two months from Oct. 12 to Dec. 15, 2017, at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. During that time, the 79th Theater Support Command (TSC), hosted Task Force Coyote, training approximately 2,000 Soldiers on crew-served weapons including the M2 machine gun, M249 light machine gun, M240B machine gun and Mark 19 40 mm grenade machine gun. Soldiers in this iteration focused on ground qualification, expending more than 1.2 million rounds of ammunition.

The second iteration of OCSII will focus on mounted gunnery operations with the same crew-served weapon systems. It will mirror the first OCS, held March and April 2017. An estimated 1,800 Army Reserve Soldiers from approximately 60 Army Reserve units participated in the U.S. Army Reserve Command's inaugural Operation Cold Steel, hosted by the 84th Training Command. The purpose of Operation Cold Steel was to create a more deployable, combat ready and lethal fighting force within the Army Reserve by training and qualifying participating units on the crew-served weapons within the Army arsenal.

Task Force Triad, hosted by the 416th Theater Engineer Command will conduct training at Fort McCoy, Feb. 19 to May 31. More than 3,000 Soldiers are expected to attend this mounted crew-served weapons qualification training. Task Force Bullion, hosted by the 377th Theater Sustainment Command, will provide ground qualification at Fort Knox, March 1 to May 13, for approximately 3,400 Soldiers.

“Cold Steel benefits the (troop list unit Soldiers) by training them and giving them an experience that they most likely have never had in the Army Reserve or even in the history of the Army Reserve,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Freddy Trejo, Task Force Triad senior enlisted advisor, Operation Cold Steel II. “We’re putting weapons in their hands, getting them qualified, increasing their confidence as Army Reserve Soldiers and we are sending crews back to units completely qualified and trained.”

In addition to crew-served weapons qualification, an estimated 250 Soldiers are training as Vehicle Crew Evaluators. Newly-trained Army Reserve Master Gunner Common Core graduates are teaming with seasoned active-component Master Gunners to build the bench enabling units in the Army Reserve to conduct gunnery autonomously at the unit level.

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers will train and qualify on the MK-19, M240B, M2 and M249 platforms mounted to various military vehicles, including Humvees, Medium Tactical Vehicles, Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks, and Heavy Equipment Transports. Approximately 50 crews from Triad will travel to Fort Knox after completing gunnery table IV, individual crew convoy protection platform qualification, to participate in a bridge combat support training exercise. Upon completion of the CSTX, these crews will complete gunnery table III, sectional gunnery of two to five protection platforms.

"Operation Cold Steel is designed to train Soldiers on a way to effectively acquire and engage targets on a mounted platform. This is something that has not been trained on in the Army Reserve in a while other than during (pre-mobilization),” said Staff Sgt. David Jenkins, operations noncommissioned officer, Task Force Cold Steel II. “From the operations at Fort McCoy conducting gate IV they can effectively go on to (situational training exercise) lanes and Gate III and conduct the convoy live-fire exercise. Completing these gates will make the transition to mobilizing a little faster. This will make our units a better equipped and ready force."