Army reservists train for battlefield scenarios at Fort McCoy

About 125,000 troops train at Fort McCoy every year, according to Public Affairs Specialist Zach Mott.

FORT MCCOY (WKBT) — At Fort McCoy on Monday, groups of army reservists completed a series of battlefield simulations.

The first simulation involved a soldier that was wounded after a vehicle was fired upon. The task required the army reserve troops to rescue the wounded soldier while protecting a convoy of vehicles.

The caveat to the first task was a crowd of “role players” acting as civilians surrounding the wounded soldier. The civilians were screaming at the reservists while they worked to complete the task.

According to Sergeant Andrew Ellis, who saw combat in Afghanistan, maintaining a strong relationship with the civilian population in a warzone is crucial.

“Working with your local population is a very important aspect that always needs to be taken into consideration,” he said.

Sergeant First Class Matthew Helwer served 3 tours in Iraq and 1 tour in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2008. He helped supervise the first training exercise at Fort McCoy on Monday.

He said he uses his knowledge from previous experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan to help guide the Army reservists that he’s training.

“I can’t help but interject and when I see something, put my two cents in,” he said.

Helwer added that it’s important for soldiers to respond to the enemy out of instinct.

“You’ve already had to train so that it becomes muscle memory,” he said.

On Monday, the second training exercise the reservists completed involved responding to small arms fire and a simulated IED explosion.

Sergeant First Class Debralee Lutgen served Afghanistan, Kuwait and Iraq. She said some mistakes were made during the second training exercise, but added that training is the place where mistakes should be made.

“We need to make sure those soldiers know what they need to expect,” she said.

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