By Lt. Garrett NashApril 30, 2013
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Soldiers of the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, "Raiders," 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, maximized training by using a unique blend of live, virtual, gaming and constructive environments during Operation Raider Pillage, here, April 23-25, 2013.
"The idea of Operation Raider Pillage was to combine Live, Virtual, Constructive, and gaming environments as part of one exercise," said Capt. John Healy, squadron plans officer in charge, 3-4 Cav. Regt., 3rd BCT, 25th ID.
The Raiders conducted a complete troop level attack on a given objective using a Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer, the Virtual Battle Space 2 system and Counter Improvised Explosive Devices lanes simultaneously.
"This is the first time on this post that all three systems have been utilized at the same time on the Battalion level," Healy added.
The exercise incorporated the use of brigade assets including unmanned aerial vehicle support, Combat Observation Lasing Team and Close Combat Air/Close Air Support through the VBS2 system, giving the unit a chance to train to its fullest potential.
"It is a good exercise that allows squad leaders and platoon leaders to develop down to the team level and to develop their small movement tactics," said 1st Sgt. Larry Curry, senior enlisted leader of Comanche Troop, 3-4 Cav. Regt., 3rd BCT, 25th ID.
"We participated in platoon squad training exercise and a troop training exercise to prepare as a troop. Internally, we really focused on machine gun theory, knocking out bunkers, breaching and individual movement techniques," said 2nd Lt. David Steller, platoon leader, 3rd Platoon, Blackfoot Troop, 3-4 Cav. Regt., 3rd BCT, 25th ID who set the rigorous training schedule for his platoon.
With an operation this size and with this many moving parts there were bound to be difficulties.
"The hardest part was maintaining situational awareness," said Curry. "You are trying to track the location of the live fire while sitting at a computer or in a virtual simulator."
Inside the squadron tactical operations center, they faced the difficult task of providing mission command to multiple subordinate troops operating in multiple training environments.
"Pushing out locations to the troops and the personnel within those simulators was a difficult task," said Healy.
Creative training like this allows units to coordinate all enablers needed while giving Soldiers the ability to physically put them to use.
"This operation allowed us to reset and execute over again the mission in a short. Multiple iterations allow the Soldiers to learn from their previous mistakes while maximizing their experience," said Healy
The overall benefits allow troops to plan and operate at a high level, reengaging skills that can diminish over time.