BCTC trains with realistic, virtual fire support missions
October 25, 2010
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii -- A Soldier scans the battlefield, his heart pounding with excitement. Suddenly, the sound of small-arms fire fills the air, and 7.62-millimeter rounds kick dirt up around him.
Not to worry: the bullets aren't real. They're just electrons fired in the Virtual Battle Space 2, or VBS2 game, at the Battle Command Training Center, here.
When the simulation ends, Sgt. Shawn Burke of 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, says he wasn't rattled by the action, as Maj. Dan Gibson, fire support officer, 2nd Bn., 35th Inf. Regt., 3rd BCT, walks among VBS2 workstations to closely monitor message traffic for tactics, techniques and procedures.
The training event, held here, recently, met objectives of working with fire support officers, risk management of fires, prioritization and deconfliction of fires.
Deconfliction of fires was tested when two separate forward observers requested fires on the same target at the same time. The duplicate fire request was not a scenario planned purposely by anyone, but a real-life occurrence. Luckily, the fire support team caught the error. Afterward, the team was satisfied that the unit's clearly defined training objectives were combined with well-designed computer simulations to produce a great interactive and inexpensive training event.
Gibson used the simulation as part of a three-step training plan for the unit. The first was in the Training Support Center, here. VBS2 simulations were the second step, and the final step will be directing live fire at Pohakuloa Training Area.
VBS2 is adaptable to many different units and training scenarios, including attack, defend, high-value targets, convoy operations and route-clearing operations. In a route-clearing operation, for example, an engineer company must deal with garbage piles, abandoned cars, improvised explosive devices and other dangers strewn along its path.
How does VBS2 training compare with real-world situations in Iraq and Afghanistan' After-action reviews included several enthusiastic comments. "Training was just like being in Iraq," wrote one Soldier. "Convoy ops was awesome, probably the closest we can get to real world, without being real world," wrote another.
Platoon-sized units with clearly defined training objectives are invited to schedule a VBS2 tour and exercise date, or discuss training plans and simulation enhancements, by calling 808-655-2810.