Serving America's armed forces since 1909
Fort McCoy is named for Robert Bruce McCoy.
The son of a Civil War captain, McCoy was a prominent local resident who, throughout his lifetime, served as a lawyer; district attorney; county judge; and mayor of Sparta, Wis.
He reached the rank of major general during his 31 years of distinguished military service, which included service in the Spanish-American War, the police action in Mexico, and World War I.
McCoy returned from the Spanish-American War with a dream. He knew that as warfare became increasingly more modern, larger and more powerful guns would be developed, and training would be emphasized. He envisioned these changes would require larger training areas, and, by 1905, he had acquired approximately 4,000 acres of land in the Sparta area.
Maj. Samuel Allen of the 7th Field Artillery at Fort Snelling, Minn., also admired the terrain of the Sparta area for its training value. McCoy invited Allen’s unit to put his Family’s ranch to the test during 16 days of training. September 1905 marked the first use of the land for military purposes.
As a result of the 16-day test, Allen recommended to an Army review board that a large piece of land be purchased for an artillery camp. Approximately 14,000 acres of land, including McCoy’s property, were purchased in 1909. The resulting parcel was called the Sparta Maneuver Tract.
The Sparta Maneuver Tract was divided approximately in half by the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. The maneuver camp situated on the northern half of the parcel was referred to as Camp Emory Upton, while that to the south was known as Camp Robinson.
In 1910, the War Department authorized $40,000 for construction and improvements to the area. The camp officially was designated Camp McCoy on Nov. 19, 1926, in honor of Maj. Gen. Robert B. McCoy, who had died that same year.
Nearly 9,500 acres of land were acquired from the Department of Agriculture in 1938-39. From 1940-42, an additional 37,437 acres were acquired by a directive from the secretary of war. These additions included construction of the large, triangular-shaped cantonment area, much of which still exists
The “New Camp” officially was inaugurated Aug. 30, 1942. Total cost for the construction was estimated at $30 million, and the camp capacity was set at 35,000. Camp McCoy was used as a training facility for many World War II units, including the 2nd Infantry Division; the 76th Infantry Division; and the 100th Infantry Battalion, which comprised Hawaii National Guardsmen of Japanese ancestry and was among the most decorated units in history. The post also served as a prisoner-ofwar and enemy-alien prison camp during this time.
Aside from temporary lulls, the installation has been in almost constant use since its founding in 1909 and has provided artillery and maneuver training opportunities for millions of military personnel from all services.
Camp McCoy was aligned under U.S. Army Forces Command on July 1, 1973, and officially was re-designated as Fort McCoy on Sept. 30, 1974. In 1990-91, during Operations Desert Shield/Storm, Soldiers from 74 separate units and their equipment were deployed and redeployed at Fort McCoy.
From June 1991 through June 1992, the post also completed Operation Desert Fix, which was one of the largest reserve-component equipment demobilization/repair missions in the Army. During Desert Fix, Fort McCoy was responsible for inventorying, inspecting, repairing, and returning more than a division-and-a-half ’s worth of equipment to 121 owning units located throughout a nine-state area. The 1990s ushered in the first great construction growth experienced at the post since the construction of the cantonment area in 1942.
From 1990 to the present day, new construction projects have served to modernize the post’s infrastructure, facilities, and training areas. The hundreds of millions of dollars invested in the post have benefited Fort McCoy as well the local economy, with the majority of the new construction contracts having been awarded to regional firms.
The installation has provided support and facilities for the training of more than 100,000 personnel annually since 1984.
Training levels at Fort McCoy reached record proportions in fiscal year 2000, with 149,432 personnel participating.
Fort McCoy was realigned under what is now known as the Installation Management Command (IMCOM) in 2002. On March 8, 2019, Installation Management Command became a subordinate command to Army Materiel Command, which Fort McCoy is also now aligned under through IMCOM. Today, Fort McCoy’s primary mission is to support the readiness of the force by serving as a training center and a support site for power-projection missions.
The installation has served in a continuing capacity as an Army power-projection site by processing and preparing military personnel for duty in overseas contingency operations.
From Sept. 11, 2001, through Dec. 30, 2011, 140,197 military personnel from 2,416 units mobilized or demobilized at Fort McCoy during the installation’s efforts to support the war on terrorism.
In September 2014, the movie “Fort McCoy” was released. “Fort McCoy” is a drama written, coproduced, and co-directed by Kate Connor, who also stars in the film, playing her real-life grandmother. The film, based on a true story, is set in the summer of 1944, with Connor sharing the experience of her mother’s family with the U.S. Army and prisoner-of-war camp situated at the Wisconsin post.
Today, the post provides fullscale support to its customers at each juncture of its training triad — transient, institutional, and exercise. Fort McCoy training levels reached an all-time record in fiscal year 2017 with 155,975 personnel participating in training.