By ROB SCHUETTE, Fort McCoy Public Affairs April 10, 2013
FORT MCCOY, Wis. -- New mine-clearance simulation training equipment located at the Wisconsin Military Academy at Fort McCoy will help engineer units learn the latest techniques to conduct route-clearance operations.
Rob Weisbrod, Training Support officer, Fort McCoy Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS), said Army Reserve and National Guard engineer route-clearance units will have first priority to use the Virtual Clearance Training Suite (VCTS) simulation system. Other units can schedule use of the system when it's available.
"The VCTS will be a valuable training tool for non-route clearance units also," Weisbrod said. "Other combat arms, combat support, and combat service support units may want to use it for some of the other simulations training capabilities offered, such as convoy operations, security escort training, vehicle familiarization training, and communications training, etc."
Personnel from the Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation were at Fort McCoy in early March to set up and demonstrate system operation. VCTS builds on the simulator technology developed for the U.S. Army Operator Driving Simulator and the U.S. Army Common Driver Trainer programs.
Luis A. Cruz, the VCTS project coordinator, said the system is contained in four trailers. The simulators involved replicate the operation and capabilities of the Buffalo, a mine-protected clearance vehicle; the Husky, a vehicle-mounted mine detector; the RG 21/Panther, a medium mine-protected vehicle; the Talon, a man-transportable robotic system; and gunnery systems.
Four Internet Operating Stations/After-Action Review stations are included with the system.
"This will be the program of record for route clearance for the Army," Cruz said. "Engineer route-clearance units using this system will send personnel to a 40-hour, train-the-trainer course to learn to operate the system. They will serve as leads and be in charge of training for the units."
Sgt. 1st Class Keldrick E. Moore, the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence training developer, said the system has125 training scenarios available, such as convoy, react to contact and medical evacuation, that can benefit many types of units.
Contracted personnel are assigned to operate the system and will offer training support, as necessary, Moore said.
"The simulation gives the unit the time to train right on the vehicles and learn the proper procedures before they use the actual vehicles," Moore said. "If they make mistakes (starting or using the equipment), the simulation training will reinforce the correct procedures and they won't damage the simulation equipment like they might the real equipment."
Weisbrod said the VCTS system training simulations can help Soldiers deal with almost any scenario they would encounter, such as weather conditions, terrain, etc.
Fort McCoy is a good location for the VCTS because it offers training opportunities to use the actual equipment after the simulation training has been completed, he said. If Soldiers need further training, refamiliarization training, etc., the simulation equipment is available for scheduling.
Weisbrod said the VCTS equipment is mobile, which means there may be future opportunities to use it to train units at home stations or to locate it on post where it is the most convenient to be used by a unit also conducting field training at the installation.
Along with the other simulation trainers available at Fort McCoy, such as the Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer, the Virtual Battle Space Simulation, the Engagement Skills Trainer, the Dismounted Soldier Training System, and the Humvee Egress Assistance Trainer, the VCTS helps servicemembers learn and perfect their skills on the latest Army simulation/simulator devices, Weisbrod said.
DPTMS will be in charge of the VCTS, which will be located at the WMA. The VCTS can train up to 24 Soldiers simultaneously.
Units interested in using the VCTS simulation equipment at Fort McCoy must contact William Bacon at 608-377-3905 to schedule training. Units must provide their military unit identification code and unit training objectives. Units will receive e-mail confirmation about the training, and it also will be scheduled into the Range Facility Management Support System.
Eventually, the VCTS likely will be located near the other DPTMS simulation equipment/facilities, creating a one-stop area for all simulation training equipment at Fort McCoy, Weisbrod said.
This also would help facilitate the use of some or all of the simulation equipment to support exercises/simulation training that might occur on or off of Fort McCoy.
For more information about simulation equipment or other training aids at Fort McCoy, call the DPTMS Training Support Branch at 608-388-2752.