US Army Reserve soldiers train for Afghanistan mission at Fort McCoy

Army Reserve company from Missouri assist at Fort McCoy

FORT MCCOY, Wis. (WKBT) - The U.S. Army Reserve 348th Engineer Company out of Missouri is training in a real-life environment at Fort McCoy. Leaders at Fort McCoy are creating an environment similar to what it will be like when these soldiers step foot on soil 7,000 miles away. 

On Wednesday, soldiers trained on a 2-mile range in a live gunfire atmosphere with the goal of using large vehicles to find bombs and other explosive devices. Fort McCoy used to do this type of training regularly with soldiers who need to get ready to go overseas. 

In 2011, that went away, but in 2017 they began this training again.  It's a way for the Army to test the ability of bases like Fort McCoy to train soldiers when they need to be organized fast. 

"The purpose is to be prepared on a moment's notice to push a large number of soldiers through here if we had to respond to a contingency or a war that's started overseas," said Gen. Tony Wright, deputy commander of the 88th Readiness Division at Fort McCoy. 

Soldiers who are involved with the group are with the Army Reserve which means they are part-time soldiers. They do have other jobs when they are not on active duty. That is why this training is so important to make sure they are ready when their number is called. 

"They are really making it as realistic as possible," said Spc. Matthew Amsbaugh. "I have learned a lot out here. I have gained a lot of good knowledge. Everyone has. It's really prepared us to do our mission effectively whenever we get downrange."

Officials at Fort McCoy said once the soldiers' training is complete, they will come back sometime in the near future and fly to Afghanistan to complete their mission.  These soldiers will be deployed for about a year. 

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