Fort McCoy, Wis., was established in 1909. Here is a look back at some installation history from October 2023 and back.
80 Years Ago — November 1943
FROM THE NOV. 6, 1943, EDITION OF THE REAL MCCOY NEWSPAPER: Post lends trucks for scrap hunt — Twenty-five trucks and drivers are being sent from Camp McCoy to assist neighboring communities in the WPB’s Victory Salvage Bank Campaign, Col. George M.
MacMullin, post commander, announced this week.
Participation in the civilian drives is in line with Col. MacMullin’s order, “The Army must lead the way,” that saw company areas at McCoy searched for scrap metal and waste paper this week. Disposal of quantities of scrap through authorized channels was reported this week by Lt. Louis Malenky, post salvage officer.
Ten trucks and drivers from McCoy are scheduled to assist 15 Boy Scout troops of La Crosse in a drive for waste paper today. Trucks furnished by the La Crosse Ordnance Repair shop will cover the entire city.
Driving the trucks in La Crosse will be men from the 562nd Anti-Aircraft Battalion. Scheduled to help in the collection are Lloyd Pierson, Joseph B. Bennett, Otis R. Camipbell, Oliver G. Hayes, Emmett E. Helfer, Robert Johnson, Paul Koutch, George E. Schinholt, Edward B. Schott and Harold Holt.
Fifteen trucks and drivers from McCoy will go to Vernon County on the 15th to pick up not less than 150 tons of scrap, Capt. Robert S. Box, assistant post adjutant, reported this week. Closing on the 15th, the national drive under the direction of the War Production Board is attempting to round up enough scrap iron and waste paper by then to prevent acute shortages in these salvage items from setting war production schedules.
FROM THE NOV. 20, 1943, EDITION OF THE REAL MCCOY NEWSPAPER: Col. MacMullin breaks ground for new McCoy Red Cross building on F Street — Ground-breaking by Col. George M. MacMullin, post commander, Monday morning marked the beginning of construction of a new Red Cross building at Camp McCoy.
The building, on F St. between 11th and 12th Ave., will conform in appearance with the rest of the gray, frame structures at the camp. It will be a one-story affair, 100 feet long and 20 feet deep. It will contain offices for five staff members and space for a stenographic pool. Living quarters for staff personnel also will be provided, so that the Red Cross services may be available 24 hours daily.
Construction is expected to take about 30 days. Attending the ceremonies, besides Col. MacMullin, were Lt. Col. Harry Brown, post executive officer; Lt. Col. Arthur F. Ewert, post chaplain; Maj. Arnold Olsen, Special Service officer; and R. A. Clough, field director of the
American Red Cross here.
The Red Cross has had an office at Camp McCoy since May 1942. Activities have steadily increased until it now handles 2,500 cases a month.
30 Years Ago — November 1993
FROM THE NOV. 5, 1993, EDITION OF THE TRIAD NEWSPAPER: Post advances in ACOE competition — Fort McCoy will vie for Department of the Army (DA) honors in the mall installation category during annual Army Communities of Excellence (ACOE) competition in November.
Fort McCoy officials were notified Monday, Oct. 25, that the post had been selected as the Forces Command (FORSCOM) nominee for the small-installation category of the competition.
FORSCOM is the major U.S. Army Command under which Fort McCoy was aligned during the competition year, fiscal year 1993.
The ACOE program exists to encourage installations to find innovative ways of providing better service and facilities for their customers within the military community.
According to Fort McCoy ACOE Coordinator Pat Heilman, “small” installations are defined as those with a permanent population of 9,000 or fewer. The post was selected from a field of three other FORSCOM installations competing in the category.
Heilman said the post’s selection as the lone FORSCOM nominee guarantees Fort McCoy of at least an honorable-mention finish, worth $50,000, at the DA level.
DA is expected to release its list of finalists in late November. Installations making the list will be visited by an inspection team before winners are declared. Winners of each category at the DA level will receive $1 million, while runners-up will get $250,000. An overall winner, selected for excellence regardless of category, also will be chosen and will receive $1.5 million. All ACOE prize money must be spent to improve quality-of-life programs at the installation.
20 Years Ago — November 2003
FROM THE NOV. 28, 2003, EDITION OF THE TRIAD NEWSPAPER: Wildland fire training benefits Fort McCoy (By Fort McCoy Public Affairs Staff) — Wildland fires are not confined to any area of the United States. If one were to occur in the Midwest, students who attended a Wildfire Origination and Cause Determination class at Fort McCoy now will have the appropriate skills to investigate it, said Brian Garvey and Richard Bucklew.
Garvey, a wildfire investigation instructor, and Bucklew, a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) Division of Forestry Law Enforcement specialist, were two of the organizers of the course at Fort McCoy. The attendees from state and federal agencies included representatives from the WDNR, the Minnesota and Michigan DNRs, the Menominee Tribal Council and the Ho-Chunk Nation. Personnel from the McCoy Fire Department also attended.
“A lot of the personnel attending were frontline responders, who we would expect to do what they’re taught,” Bucklew said. “The students get into their fields because they like being outdoors. They told us on their critiques that they really like the hands-on portions of the course and learned a lot from that.”
The class also introduces students to the latest techniques, said Garvey, who helps coordinate similar classes on a national level.
“Personnel who have fought wildfires in California, Montana and New Mexico have used these same techniques and training,” Garvey said. “They’ve been exchanging information about those fires. It’s important to have good personnel trained and doing this work.”
Bucklew said he had been to classes at Fort McCoy several different times at the State Patrol Academy or the Wisconsin Military Academy and was impressed with the facilities and support personnel. A Midwest site was needed to hold a class.
Bucklew and Garvey met with Terry Gough, installation fire chief, and Jim Kerkman, installation forester, to work out the details of holding the course at McCoy.
“They (Gough and Kerkman) sold us on the site’,” Garvey said. “There were a lot of good areas on the fort to do the hands-on training and the differing terrains presented a lot of different training opportunities.”
Gough said the training helped Fort McCoy build its support network. If a wildfire or some other type of disaster occurred on Fort McCoy that would incorporate DNR assistance, he now knows the equipment, training and manpower levels available for support.
10 Years Ago — November 2013
FROM THE NOV. 22, 2013, EDITION OF THE REAL MCCOY: McCoy Prayer Luncheon honors veterans (By Fort McCoy Public Affairs Staff) — Even with a last-minute substitute guest speaker, the Fort McCoy Veterans Day Prayer Luncheon Nov. 7 didn’t miss a beat and honored current and past veterans.
Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Robert Brady, the deputy command chaplain of the 88th Regional Support Command, served as the guest speaker and noted his Family had a long tradition of military service that he has helped continue. A brother was a judge advocate general officer, his
uncles and cousins served in Vietnam and Korea, his father was a gunner’s mate in the U.S. Navy during World War II and his grandfather was a “Doughboy,” a member of the American Expeditionary Force during World War I.
Brady also recognized current service members and veterans from all the services and their service eras. Fort McCoy Garrison Commander Col. Steven W. Nott noted there is a uniqueness to be found in being a service member as no other federal profession has a day set aside (Veterans Day Nov. 11) to celebrate them.
Lisa Giertych, whose father was a career service member, provided the music/special music for the ceremony, which included the National Anthem, “Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone),” and “Here I am to Worship.”
Brady listed the major goals for service members and members of the Fort McCoy community to serve, volunteer and listen to other veterans. He also encouraged veterans to get resiliency/mental help when they needed it.
Brady spoke about a Roman Centurion, a military officer mentioned in the Bible, who was well known for his service to the community, even though he was part of an occupying army.
In a separate interview after the event, Brady said Soldiers serving in Iraq or Afghanistan are more like the Roman Centurion than they are like Soldiers from previous conflicts the U.S. was involved in.
“We know they’ve gone through hard circumstances with the deployments (to Iraq and Afghanistan),” Brady said. “They’ve made positive contributions to the communities there and will continue to do so at home.”
Unlike in previous U.S. wars, there was no rebuilding the countries fought in, such as there was in World War II with the Marshall Plan. Also, unlike their grandfathers, they didn’t marry the daughters of the people of the lands they served and fought in. The Soldiers in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts will be measured by the manner they served and the good deeds they did, which included rebuilding the infrastructure.
The veterans who return to U.S. society today need to continue the goodness they exhibited in Iraq and Afghanistan in their communities, he said.
5 Years Ago — November 2018
FROM THE NOV. 23, 2018, EDITION OF THE REAL MCCOY NEWSPAPER: Commanders learn about combat support hospitals in RTS-Medical course (By Aimee Malone) — Regional Training Site (RTS)-Medical at Fort McCoy ran a Combat Support Hospital/Field Hospital Commander and Command Sergeant Major Course from Nov. 6-8 to help prepare new commanders for the challenges they’ll face in the future.
The three-day course is designed to provide leaders the required guidance, knowledge, techniques, and procedures required to perform their duties as a Combat Support Hospital (CSH) or Field Hospital (FH) commander or command sergeant major. It covers topics such as Tactical Standing Operating Procedures, organization and equipment, hospital layouts (including utilities), operations orders, and leadership. Our intent is to help these commanders … have successful tenures and avoid some of the leadership potholes in the road,” said Col. Cynthia Hopkins, site director for RTS-Medical.
The course is conducted in a classroom setting, and attendees are encouraged to speak up about their own experiences to begin discussions.
“I want this to be an interactive course. I want there to be dialogue,” Hopkins said.
Col. Craig Parsons with the 3rd Medical Command (Deployment Support) in Fort Gillem, Ga., said the course was extremely useful to new commanders and command sergeant majors.
“This is the first time they can come together in this collective group and share their experiences. Any other time, they will meet in these exercises and that’s not the time to get to know each other and share experiences and activities,” Parsons said.
Learn more about Army history by visiting the Army Center for Military History at https://history.army.mil.
Learn more about Fort McCoy online at https://home.army.mil/mccoy, on the Defense Visual Information Distribution System at https://www.dvidshub.net/fmpao, 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 and compiled by the Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office.)
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