Fort Mccoy, WI

Army Annual Training for Reserve and National Guard Soldiers (10–17 Days)

Jordan Mendiola
My Army AT in Fort McCoy, Wisconsin July 2022

Army Anual Training is also known as AT for short. In my five years in the Army Reserves, this was my first experience going out on a WAREX (war exercise as an NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer).

Some units stay locally at their drill site, but we always do something spicy at my unit. Previous years have been in Poland, Romania, Montana, and California for NTC (National Training Center).

This year, over 20 companies/units from across the United States participated in WAREX. Of the 20 companies, we had the best shooters and performed well against opposing forces.

What can you expect from AT?

The majority of the time, you can expect to pack your bags and hit the road. Odds, are you’re going a fair distance from home and won’t be commuting back and forth for at least two weeks.
The view I woke up to every morning

You’re going to want to pack heavy and bring your ACH, flick, multiple uniforms, and anything you might need to live in the field.

In most cases, you’ll get some time to hit the ranges and qualify. In some cases, you’ll perform the Army’s new ACFT too.

Don’t expect much downtime as this is the prime time to get the best training possible. Drilling 2–3 days a month isn’t enough time to get proper training, so you can expect to get a decent workload on AT.

How was WAREX in July 2022?

WAREX was no joking matter. We were given a plot of land and told to occupy it and defend it at all costs. It was our unit’s duty to prep by putting up tents, a TOC, fighting positions, water points, etc.

Early mornings consisted of hopping into our foxholes, pulling guard duty, watching our sectors of fire, and standing by ready for anything that came our way.

Additional training includes IWQ, sticks lanes, medical lanes, land navigation, and other pocketbook training. There were days we didn’t have showers available to us.

I don’t want to think about MREs right now, but it was only two weeks.

Reflecting on 2022’s AT, I am grateful I could participate in it and experience being a squad leader & team leader while on patrol. I learned a lot about my strengths, weaknesses, and areas I can improve.

Final Thoughts

Many Reservist & National Guard soldiers typically dread AT because it is in the dead center of summer, so it’s hot, puts summer fun on hold, and puts you into a brand new world.

Looking back on all my years in the Army, the most I ever got out of it was on deployment in 2019 and all of the ATs.

If joining the Army full-time in Active Duty is too much for you, consider the Reserves and the Guard because you get the Army in doses and do some pretty special things along the way.

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Creative entrepreneur, U.S. Army Engineer, and dedicated runner. Committed to sharing ideas that lead to more fulfillment in all areas of life. Email:

Chicago, IL

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