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News | July 26, 2023

South Dakota’s 153rd Engineer Battalion Trains at Fort McCoy

By Scott Sturkol, Fort McCoy Public Affairs Office

FORT MCCOY, Wis. - The 153rd Engineer Battalion with the South Dakota Army National Guard and its corresponding units convoyed with 90 vehicles and equipment to Fort McCoy July 8-19 for annual training.

“I brought units from Huron and Madison, S.D. — three different companies — here to Fort McCoy this summer to train for annual training,” said Lt. Col. Heath Abraham, 153rd commander. “Our battalion headquarters was conducting TOC (tactical operations center) operations. Our HHC (headquarters and headquarters company) was supporting our exercise. Our forward support company was supporting two other (engineer) companies and the ongoing LOGPAC (logistical packages) operations.”

On July 17, all the units combined for the culminating training event — a breach of a complex obstacle at Warrens Drop Zone on Fort McCoy’s North Post.

Select unit Soldiers served as opposing forces on one side of the drop zone. On the other side, the rest of the unit’s forces navigated the drop zone’s terrain and obstacles to meet training objectives in the battalion-wide training event.

“The operation we had here this morning was a maneuver augmentation company, specifically the 211th Engineer Company, conducting a combined obstacle breach,” Abraham said. “We had one platoon place in a complex obstacle consisting of a triple strand, a minefield, and a 12-row, anti-tank barrier.”

Soldiers used M113 Armored Personnel Carriers, M60 Armored Vehicle Launch Bridge vehicles, M88 Recovery Vehicles and Humvees during the exercise.

“Our breach team then came in with AVLBs and 113s and their breach teams of combat engineers,” Abraham said. “They breached the 12-row, breached the triple-strand, and then breached a natural obstacle.”

Abraham said the training keeps his unit sharp.

“Engineer units can get called up at any point in time,” Abraham said. “Engineers are predominantly within the reserve forces in the Army Reserve and the National Guard. So the active duty needs us to be ready and to be always trained and equipped — ready to move out whenever they need us.”

Abraham also said Fort McCoy was “incredibly easy to work with. (Especially) with the variety of simulation centers and ranges. By far one of the best that we’ve got within a day’s drive of South Dakota.”

Fort McCoy was established in 1909 and is the only U.S. Army installation in Wisconsin. The installation has provided support and facilities for field and classroom training of more than 100,000 military personnel from all services nearly every year since 1984.