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NEWS | Aug. 31, 2023

Army Reserve Soldiers complete Engagement Skills Trainer rifle qualification training at Fort McCoy

By Scott Sturkol Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office

Dozens of Army Reserve Soldiers lined up Aug. 10 to complete a part of their M4 qualification training at the Engagement Skills Trainer (EST) II simulator at Fort McCoy.

“Soldiers are required to complete training on the Engagement Skills Trainer before actually going out to the range to complete their qualifications there, so this training facility is one of our busiest,” said Fort McCoy Training Support Officer Rob Weisbrod with the Fort McCoy Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.

“The system is realistic, and it allows Soldiers that opportunity to hone their marksmanship skills,” he said.

The training facility has two sides where Soldiers can complete their training. The trainer itself is unique, too, Weisbrod said.

And according to the EST II description from the U.S. Army Acquisition Center, the EST II is “designed to simulate live weapon training events that directly support individual and crew-served weapons qualification, including individual marksmanship, small unit collective and judgmental escalation-of-force exercises in a controlled environment. It provides detailed feedback to the individual fire team/squad that covers the fundamentals of marksmanship, fire control and distribution of fires.”

During the Aug. 10 training, the Soldiers each took their turns getting their training completed on the trainer through the direction of DPTMS employees like Heath Sayer who operate the trainer.

Sayer and other EST operators set up each round of operations for the Soldiers to get through their required training. “They do a great job,” Weisbrod said.

During their training time Aug. 10, the Soldiers were also visited by a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin as well as the Fort McCoy Senior Commander Maj. Gen. Matt Baker, who is commanding general of the 88th Readiness Division, and the Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. Stephen Messenger.

After completion of their training, the Soldiers then participated in the 86th Training Division’s Combat Support Training Exercise 86-23-02.

Weisbrod added that the EST, on average, has more than 11,000 Soldiers complete qualifications training on it at Fort McCoy annually.

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.