Virtual training prepares service members for roadside bombs
March 29, 2013
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - Service members preparing for mobilization are stepping into a virtual world as they train to spot and counteract IEDs.
U.S. Air Force, Army and Navy individuals came from across the U.S. to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., March 11-13 for mobilization training in a series of the military's virtual-reality trainers.
The three-day virtual training exercise began Tuesday with instructions in a classroom about identifying potential improvised explosive devices and how to react to them.
Then, the service members moved to the Mobile Counter-IED Interactive Trainer, which consists of four trailers.
The first three trailers feature the parts of an IED, the bomb makers home, interactive quizzes and a mission briefing. In the fourth trailer, the service members completed the mission of identifying and reporting IEDs while driving along a specific route.
"They are able to apply the knowledge they are taught without being in an environment where we are tearing up vehicles or injuring people," said Sue Parker, senior training and development specialist for MCIT.
Not only are service members able to apply knowledge in a safe environment, virtual training is saving money, said Jason Pridgeon, operator of the Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer.
The virtual trainers can add vehicles, weapons and scenario locations into the software to simulate real-world and up-to-date threats, which means the military doesn't have to spend money to keep buying supplies.
There are multiple virtual trainers on Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst used for mobilizing units. MCIT is geared toward teaching service members to think like an insurgent.
RVTT has four tactical vehicles with a 360-degree screen surrounding each one.
The Vehicle Battle System 2 includes laptops for approximately 40 participants and is geared toward refining convoy operations.
The Dismounted Interactive Counter-IED Environment for Training is used for patrols on foot. The virtual systems can record missions so they can be played back and reviewed.
"It's a really good tool for mobilization," said Duane Hines, instructor, operator and courseware developer for MCIT. "For instance, we have Army, Navy and Air Force trainees coming through here today. It gives all of them the opportunity to work together."
Working together with other branches of the military is a real-world scenario overseas. This training is a good familiarization tool for service members in branches that do not normally train for these types of missions.
"I was a little apprehensive toward going to a hostile location and feeling like a sitting duck," said Navy Reserve Petty Officer 2nd Class Pam Gordon from Virginia Beach, Va. "I didn't expect to get all of this type of training. I'm glad I did get it."
The three-day virtual training exercise will conclude with service members using the DICE-T system to participate in a virtual foot patrol mission to counter IEDs.