K-State football players tackle virtual battlefield
August 12, 2009
As part of furthering the bond between the "Black Lions" of the 1st Infantry Division and the "Wildcats" of Kansas State University, players from the K-State football team paid a visit to Fort Riley to get some hands-on virtual training and visit with their partners in the 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
Soldiers of Company B, 1st Bn., 28th Inf. Regt., joined the team to explain the different elements of a light infantry squad and give a detailed description of the M-4 carbine assault rifle and the M-249 squad automatic weapon. The Soldiers also described components, such as the helmet and body armor, which make up a basic combat load.
After the presentation, the players were separated into pairs and given the chance to tackle a virtual battlefield by engaging the enemy from inside M1A1 Abrams tank and M2A2 Bradley simulators.
"What we try to present to them on a tour like this is a scenario where they can operate the vehicle and get a feel for the sights and sounds of what they're going to see as Soldiers, then put them in situations where they'll engage targets and get attacked," said Mark Naughton, a computer based trainer at the Close Combat Tactical Training Center. "They'll get fired upon and they'll have to develop teamwork among themselves so they can beat this thing together."
"I think the cool thing to see is that the ages of the players are the exact same ages as our Soldiers," said Black Lion commander, Lt. Col. Eric Timmerman. "So, they really get along well together, and I think the players are really getting a chance to see what we do. They're getting the experience and getting some interaction with our Soldiers, and our Soldiers love the fact that they're getting to be with a great football team in K-State. It's a great experience."
While one group of K-State football players took control of the commander and gunner seats, the other group remained in the classroom to see the action play out on the big screen, as well as numerous small screens.
After working up an appetite with the simulators, the Wildcats and Black Lions gathered inside the Devil's Den Dining Facility to enjoy Meals Ready-to-Eat, relax, create a tighter bond and understand each other a little better.
"Seeing it from the outside looking in you really don't see all the technology that goes into a war or the Army, and it's a lot like football when we watch game film to study an opponent. It's just like when you all study an enemy," said Zack Kendall, an offensive lineman with the K-State football team. "It's cool to see how it relates to what we do. It's interesting."