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NEWS | July 13, 2015

Fort McCoy hosts multi-component Warrior Exercise 86

By Story by Sgt. Eben Boothby 335th Signal Command (Theater)

FORT MCCOY, Wis. – ‘One team, one fight’ is a familiar saying when soldiers from all components of the U.S. Army live, train and fight alongside each other. This is the theme at Warrior Exercise 86 (WAREX), where a stateside collaboration between active duty, national guard and reserve units provides multi-component training and prepares soldiers for deployment.

The 62nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion (ESB) is an active duty signal battalion based at Fort Hood, Texas. These signal soldiers are providing crucial communications and signal support for reserve soldiers conducting extended combat training here from May 2 to 22, 2015. 

The 62nd is also supporting Operation Grecian Firebolt 2015, the 335th Signal Command (Theater)-led annual operation that provides communication support to the war fighter during training exercises conducted throughout the U.S.

WAREX 86 gives the 62nd ESB the ability to provide information management and network services including internet support, radio and satellite connectivity, e-mail, cable and web support, in a tactical, secure environment.

“The mission always remains a constant, but on a soldier level this exercise has certainly opened our eyes to a different understanding of ‘service’ in general,” said Sgt. 1st Class Spencer Kinder, 62nd ESB. “These reservists are leaving behind their family and jobs to come out here and train at a very high tempo,” said Kinder.

The 471st Engineering Company (Vertical), an Army Reserve unit from Puerto Rico, has been participating in WAREX 86 for ten days. The engineers built a fully functional enemy prisoner of war (EPW) holding base, complete with guard towers, chain link fence, running water and electricity. 

471st soldiers have been living in a state of constant awareness and are visibly on edge as the exercise evaluators from the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division have been staging opposition force attacks at all hours of the day to simulate a combat zone situation. 

“This is all-encompassing training; everyone is out of their comfort zones. These are your everyday carpenters, electricians, plumbers and large vehicle operators thrust into an environment where they must drop their hammers or wrenches and pick up a radio or a weapon to defend the worksite,” said 2nd Lt. Neriann Valez, 471st Engineering Company (Vertical).

Army reserve and national guard units are trained and validated for deployment at WAREX 86.