FORT DRUM, N.Y. - One of the biggest threats to U.S. Soldiers serving in Afghanistan is being attacked by the enemy during a convoy in hostile territory. While 10th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, may not have the same type of missions as maneuver battalions within 1st BCT, its Soldiers are susceptible to the same kind of attacks while delivering supplies and personnel through hostile areas.

Now, Company A's convoy security element of 10th BSB will be better prepared because of Virtual Battle Space Simulator training Soldiers received at the Battle Command Training Center in February.

Members of 1st Squad started off the training for Transportation Platoon with 1st Lt. Blair DiDomenico, transportation platoon leader, Co. A, 10th BSB. DiDomenico has been preparing her platoon for over a year developing tactics, techniques and procedures and completing field training exercises.

"This mission was treated just like a mission overseas, including a Go-NoGo brief, patrol brief and a safety brief," DiDomenico said. "The VBS2 served as a final virtual assessment of our platoon's convoy security element skills."

The complexity of scenarios was similar to training conducted at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La., in early August. Pfc. David Baird, lead gunner, transportation platoon, Co. A, 10th BSB, was one of the first from the company to complete the training.

"During JRTC, we had a lot of vehicles approaching us. In the midst of combat, there were a lot of scenarios that we could not predict, so we were forced to make-on-the-spot decisions depending on the situation," Baird said. "The virtual training we had allowed us to encounter more situations to familiarize us with what we may see while deployed. There were definite parallels that justified the virtual training from what we had learned at JRTC."

Each scenario offered worst-case possibilities to effectively train the platoon on reacting to improvised explosive devices, civilians on the battlefield, small-arms fire and other various insurgent activities.

Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Davis, transportation platoon sergeant, Co. A, 10th BSB, found the training to be authentic and useful.

"The training was realistic and provided us with worst-case scenarios that required the team to use all means necessary to accomplish the mission," Davis said. "We entered the engagement with an open mind to be able to challenge ourselves with any scenario offered by the VBS2."

This training was just another way to give confidence to the convoy security element and keep them current on deployed operations.

(Bennett serves as executive officer of Co. A, 10th BSB.)

Page last updated Fri March 12th, 2010 at 15:45