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Fort McCoy is a reservist United States Army installation. It is located on 60,000 acres (240 km2) between Sparta and Tomah, Wisconsin, in Monroe County. Since its creation in 1909, the post has been used primarily as a military training center. A part of Fort McCoy is also used by the Wisconsin State Patrol as a training facility.
The post has been in virtually constant use since it was first formed as the "Sparta Maneuver Tract" on 14,000 acres (57 km2) in 1909. At first, the tract was made up of two camps, Camp Emory Upton and Camp Robinson. These were separated by a line of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad that ran across the land from east to west. In 1910, the army renamed the entire tract "Camp Bruce E. McCoy" for Robert Bruce McCoy, a retired major general who first proposed the area as a training ground and bought part of the property on which the fort stands. In 1926, the name of the post was shortened to "Camp McCoy".
In 1938, the United States began a major expansion of the camp. This included the addition of over 45,000 acres (180 km2) to the post, as well as the construction of several new structures including living quarters for the troops. This increased the camp's capacity to 35,000 soldiers. In all, the project was estimated to have cost about $30 million. The expansion was officially concluded with a new inauguration on August 30, 1942.
During World War II, Fort McCoy was used as a detention center for approximately 170 Japanese and 120 German and Italian American civilians arrested as potentially dangerous "enemy aliens" (despite a lack of evidence to demonstrate their supposed risk) in 1942. After the internees were transferred to other camps, McCoy was used as a training facility for units from across the country preparing to enter combat, including the segregated all-Nisei 100th Infantry Battalion. The post was also used as a prisoner-of-war (POW) camp during the conflict, holding 4,000 Japanese and German POWs. The camp was briefly deactivated following World War II, but with the advent of the Korean War in 1950, it was once again used for training. This continued until 1953, when the camp was again deactivated. It was then used to house various small national, state and civilian projects, and served as a training center for the National Guard and the Job Corps.
In the 1970s, a variety of ideas were offered to make use of the camp's land including a suggestion by researchers to balance Wisconsin's population distribution by creating a major city on the 60,000 acre (240 km2) post that would rival Milwaukee. In response, a Milwaukee official proposed that the camp be used as a landfill for Milwaukee garbage.[dead link] In 1973, the Army reactivated Camp McCoy as a permanent training center, and on September 30, 1974, it was officially re-designated as Fort McCoy.
In the 1990s, a second major construction project was undertaken, costing around $140 Million. Today, Fort McCoy serves as a Total Force Training Center. Around 100,000 members of the military are trained at the fort every year, and the total number has exceeded 149,000 in the past.
Fort McCoy also is the headquarters of NMCB-25 or Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Two-Five (Spades and Clubs) which served a distinguished tour in Iraq and SOUTHCOM (including Cuba, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and earthquake disaster relief to Haiti).
The 769th Engineer Battalion and the 927th Sapper Company of the 225th Engineer Brigade of the Louisiana Army National Guard mobilized for deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan in 2008 and 2009. 194th Engineer Brigade mobilized from Fort McCoy to Iraq in 2009 and 190th Engineer Company mobilized to Afghanistan from there in 2010, both are part of the Tennessee Army National Guard.
During February and March of 2003,the Wisconsin Army National Guard's 229th Combat Support Equipment (CSE) Engineer Company deployed from Fort McCoy,in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
From December through February of 2003-04, the 458th Combat Engineers of Johnstown, Pennsylvania mobilized through Fort McCoy. One of the soldiers mobilized was an intra-Reserve transfer or "fill" from Boise, Idaho, who later used his experiences there to form a major chapter in the online webcomic "BOHICA Blues." The entirety of Chapter 3, "Mobe Station", takes place at Ft. McCoy and the surrounding area of Sparta and Tomah.