FORT MCCOY, Wis. –
U.S. Army Soldiers were seeing stars, and lots of them, while conducting annual training at Fort McCoy when Gen. James C. McConville, the 40th Chief of Staff of the Army, visited the post for the first time Aug. 11.
As if four stars weren’t enough, McConville was also 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. The generals gathered for a morning briefing with garrison leadership that showcased the installation’s capabilities before departing on a tour of the training areas to see Soldiers in action.
This was the first time in recent history that the Army’s top military leader visited Fort McCoy. It also followed a previous visit to the post by Army’s top enlisted leader — Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael A. Grinston.
While touring the 18th Field Hospital, which was participating in a Global Medic exercise, a Humvee arrived at the emergency department and a distraught Soldier fell to the ground, screaming for someone to help her injured military working dog. McConville watched as the Soldiers sprang into action to receive and triage the patients. Once stabilized, they worked with the veterinary detachment on site to determine further care.
It was a notional training scenario, of course, but bystanders would be hard-pressed to tell the Diesel Dog Manikin was not real as it panted and whimpered in pain. “Diesel” is one of the advanced simulation capabilities of Fort McCoy’s Regional Training Site-Medical, one of only three within the Army Reserve’s Medical Readiness Training Command.
“The simulators (equipment, manikins, etc.) give a level of realism that cannot be captured with PowerPoint presentations, classroom discussions, or videos,” said Col. Amy Sanders, the deputy commanding officer of 1st Medical Training Brigade and a veterinary corps officer who served as the chief of the operations group for Global Medic. “A room full of Soldiers fighting back tears when they hear simulated cries is a very powerful and sobering experience.”
Exercises like Global Medic test the units’ ability to execute their missions in a field environment, refine their skills and enhance their capabilities to sustain combat power. Sanders said operating in a mostly virtual training environment last year due to COVID-19 affected morale and readiness, but seeing senior leadership interested and involved helps the troops feel appreciated.
“The time he spent with the group, which was well beyond what was scheduled, really drove home how much he cares about the well-being of the Soldiers, their concerns, and how much he appreciates their talents,” Sanders said.
McConville went on to visit with Army Reserve Soldiers participating in a Combat Support Training Exercise and Diamond Saber, as well as with Airmen participating in Patriot Warrior 2021, an Air Force Reserve exercise. There were more than 4,100 service members at Fort McCoy between all four exercises during his visit.
Fort McCoy’s mission is to strengthen Total Force readiness by serving as a training center, a Mobilization Force Generation Installation, and a strategic support area.
McConville’s historic visit possibly emphasizes the importance of the post, the only Army installation in Wisconsin, and the essential role it plays in preparing the U.S. armed forces for large-scale combat operations in a multidomain operational environment.
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.
(The Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office contributed some information to this article.)