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Wisconsin's Fort McCoy will train thousands of Soldiers this month

By Scott Sturkol | Fort McCoy Public Affairs | June 05, 2017

FORT McCOY, Wis. — Thousands of Soldiers with the 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team and Joint Forces Headquarters-Illinois of the Illinois National Guard are among those training at Fort McCoy in an Exportable Combat Training Capability (XCTC) Exercise for three weeks in June.

XCTC is the Army National Guard's program to provide participants with an experience similar to an Army combat training center at home station or a regional training center, such as Fort McCoy, according to the National Guard Bureau.

The exercise also minimizes cost and time away from home and jobs for Guard personnel. It is designed to provide a world-class training event to achieve platoon-level proficiency for brigade combat teams prior to entering a combat training center as well as company-level proficiency for units prior to entering the Army's available force pool in the Army Force Generation Cycle.

Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Director Lt. Col. Brad Leighton said approximately 4,000 Soldiers will be participating in the exercise, including 3,200 Illinois Soldiers and about 800 active-duty service members.

"We are including an infantry battalion from the Puerto Rico National Guard in the Illinois numbers," Leighton said."The 33rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team includes six battalions with companies from the southern tip of Illinois all the way up to Woodstock near the northern border that will be a part of this training."

The exercise features a variety of scenarios and training environments designed to test the Soldiers, Leighton said. The exercise venues are located throughout the Fort McCoy range complex, including large maneuver areas on North and South Post.

"This is a large exercise," Leighton said. "Having this training at Fort McCoy is definitely good for us, too. It is fairly close to Illinois, so there is a cost savings (in transportation) and a time savings there, as well.

"Plus, Fort McCoy has everything needed to conduct an exercise like this," he said.

Some training objectives in an XCTC training environment include exercise planning and control, integrated instrumentation, and battlefield immersion with realistic battlefield effects, according to the National Guard Bureau. It's an exercise that can combine aviation assets with ground forces in a decisive-action training environment to provide the most-realistic training possible, Leighton said.

Many of the service members training in this XCTC Exercise will be training at a later date at an Army Joint Readiness Training Center.

Fort McCoy has supported America's armed forces since 1909. The installation's motto is to be the "Total Force Training Center." The post's varied terrain, state-of-the-art ranges, new as well as renovated facilities, and extensive support infrastructure, combine to provide military personnel with an environment in which to develop and sustain the skills necessary for mission success.