The Avenger
Instructor Staff Sgt. Charles Parent demonstrates how students will use simulators that replicate sitting inside an Avenger system. It is part of the new Air Defense Artillery Advanced Individual Training on Fort Sill, Okla. The first Avenger system class began Tuesday.

FORT SILL, Okla. (Jan. 14, 2010) -- "The realistic training that's going to be given to the students in here is overwhelming," said Scott Hussey, an ADA instructor, as the Air Defense Artillery School officially opened its doors to students at Fort Sill after a chilly opening ceremony Jan. 11.

The newly-built school held computers and what looked like military arcade games lining the walls ready to be used.

"We know the Soldiers of today are simply different from legacy Soldiers. They grew up with automation, they grew up with computers and small hand-held devices and that's really what we're going to. We are in essence catering to how our new warriors best learn," said Lt. Col. James Payne, commander of 3rd Battalion, 6th ADA, host unit of the AIT classes.

The new batch of air and missile defense crew members will be the first to break in the equipment, and they understand their significant roles as being the first.

"I believe that we are the future, and we want to set the standard for all the future classes to come," said student Pvt. Brent Boroff.

The 10-week course will teach them their respective skill sets in a way unlike any other.

Individual computers are set up inside one of the classrooms to simulate what it is like inside an Avenger system, or the lightweight, highly mobile and transportable surface-to-air missile/ gun weapon system. The building also houses a Joint Fires Multi-Purpose Dome complete with 84 projectors that will simulate aircraft flying overhead. The dome gives students the opportunity to practice the simulation of shooting Stinger missiles. It even replicates the trail of smoke the missile gives off as it streaks toward the target.

"This gives them a chance to not be in a combat zone, but do the same things they would do there, and do it safely," said Staff Sgt. Charles Parent, instructor.

"Using the high-tech equipment puts the training into real-life perspective," said Boroff.

About 600 AIT Soldiers are scheduled to train at the new facility by this summer.

"It's really exciting if you think about it. It's one of those points of history where the old is finished and it ushers on a new era in our collective branches, so it's neat to be here at the ground floor," said Payne.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16