Fort McCoy begins COVID-19 vaccinations

Three Commanders for the base and other base leaders receive first vaccine vial

FORT McCOY, Wis. (WKBT) – Usually nothing ever comes easy for those in our armed forces.

“2020 has been a struggle for our entire nation, and for our army, and for our services,” Command Sgt. Maj. Paul Mantha said.

Soldiers in training at Fort McCoy have had to mask and stay distant as much as possible since March.

“By wearing a mask, you are showing “I respect you,'” Mantha said.

And even with mask wearing, they welcome another line of defense: getting vaccinated.

“It’s important that we demonstrate our confidence,” Col. Michael Poss said.

Poss was the first soldier to get the vaccine.

“Just leading by example,” Poss said.

Mantha was the second. He educates soldiers about health and safety in his role.

“This is a human condition. We all have to do this as human beings,” Mantha said.

Poss says the COVID protocols at the Monroe County military base have been “aggressive.”

“We consider it in the Army no different than training in other adverse conditions or environments,” Poss said.

All of those teachings and protocols have led to low COVID case numbers at the base.

“That’s important not only for us here at Fort McCoy, but also the surrounding communities of Sparta, Tomah, (and) La Crosse,” Poss said. “And many of our Fort McCoy employees and soldiers live in those communities.”

It all starts with the medical team, so that those in uniform can safely learn the skills needed to protect us.

“We do have a robust calendar of training lined up,” Poss said. “And we will continue to provide that training to provide a readiness for the U.S. Army.”

A total of three Commanders for the base, as well as medical staff and other base leaders received the vaccine Tuesday.