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Marines complete live-fire battle-drill training at Fort McCoy

15 Sep 2017 | Scott Sturkol U.S. Marine Corps Forces Reserve

    More than 140 Marines and Sailors with the 3rd Civil Affairs Group (CAG) of Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill., completed nearly three days of battle-drill training at Fort McCoy in early September, including live-fire marksmanship exercises.

    In addition to live-fire training, the Marines completed training in chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense and on the Fort McCoy Humvee Egress Assistance Trainer, said Lt. Col. Kevin Conant, inspector-instructor for the 3rd CAG.

    “We were able to get a significant amount of our unit trained in the specific tasks we had planned,” Conant said. “Most important was completing the live-fire marksmanship in accordance with the Marine Corps Combat Marksmanship Program, specifically tables 3 through 6.”

    During their visit, 3rd CAG members bivouacked at a range on North Post. Lt. Col. Scott Morrison, the 3rd CAG’s executive officer, said the idea is to train the way they would fight.

    “Every Marine is a rifleman, and we want to be as close to the action as possible,” Morrison said. “We also always want to make a light footprint while at the same time being as expeditionary as possible. Our Marines all come out here with the gear they are issued, which is the main rucksack and a patrol pack. That’s what they would deploy with and that’s what they come here with.”

    Conant said all of their training practices reflect the same kind of training the unit would complete if called for a deployment.

    “When we get ready to deploy, this is a lot of the same types of training that we will do,” Conant said. “We’re getting it done because we want to ensure we have the ability to fight tonight, and we are taking advantage of the time to do it now.”

    Civil affairs Marines serve as a critical link between local civilians and military units that operate in their countries, Conant said. Operations in the counterinsurgency environments of Iraq and Afghanistan relied heavily on civil affairs teams for missions like helping civilian populations build infrastructure. And the Marine Corps’ civil affairs capability, which resides exclusively in the Marine Corps Reserve, will continue to be in high demand.
“We focus on the civil component within the battlespace so that the warfighting commander can focus on fighting the battle. Desired result is to increase blue and decrease red,” Conant said. “So that’s why constantly train to always be ready support our unique mission.”

    This training visit was the third time the unit trained at Fort McCoy in 2017. In February, Morrison said the unit held civil-affairs scenario training at the Combined Arms Collective Training Facility on South Post. In June, unit members were on post to train on marksmanship in the first two Marine Corps gunnery tables.

    Conant said the unit always receives great support when they come to Fort McCoy.

    “We are really appreciative of the support we get from the Fort McCoy staff, including from Range Control, logistical support (offices), and others,” Conant said. “Even though it’s almost a four-hour drive to get here, when we are here, it’s time well spent to get our training completed. The benefit our Marines gain from training here is worth every bit of time it takes to travel such distance.”

    Morrison added, “We will keep coming here because this is a great place with great facilities.”

    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.

    Today, Fort McCoy has become the Army’s premier Total Force Training Center for Army Early Response Force early deployers to meet the Army's operational demand requirements. Learn more about Fort McCoy online at, on Facebook by searching “ftmccoy,” and on Twitter by searching “usagmccoy.”