By Pfc. Adam Turner, 1st Cav. Div. Public AffairsJuly 28, 2008
FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers from Co. A, Division Special Troops Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, followed in the footsteps of 46,000 warriors before them and visited the Warrior Skill Trainer on Fort Hood Texas, to conduct scenario driven convoy training July 17.
The trainer, by design, is capable of putting soldiers into an infinite amount of scenarios to promote team cohesion during a Convoy.
"We have 14 basic simulations we run Soldiers through," said Troy Pa. native, Jay Ritz, head trainer for the Warrior Skills Trainer. "Maintenance missions, civil affairs, downed helicopters, all with limitless variations for weather, terrain enemy forces everything".
The warrior skills basic setup is a stationary, four vehicle convoy centered between four video screens to the front, rear, and both sides. Using video game type controls and interaction, soldiers move through their simulated areas practicing rules of engagement and convoy formations, to be better prepared for convoy missions while deployed.
Every angle is covered during this training to give it a realistic feel. Before the convoy rolls out, the convoy and truck commanders give a briefing on the mission, the roads being taken, enemy presence, rules of engagement, and call signs for each truck.
"I found being the convoy commander to be difficult. You are dealing with a lot, there is a lot of radio activity, everyone is trying to keep up [communications] and the whole time you're trying to direct your team and keep the rear informed of the situation, it was definitely a challenge," said Brooklyn N.Y. native, Sgt. Jennifer Brazelton, an electronic maintenance team chief with C Co., DSTB, 1st Cav. Div.
All different types of contact can occur while the convoy is rolling; vehicle-born IEDs (VBIEDS), small arms fire from the roadside or buildings along the roadway, as well as rocket propelled grenade fire and roadside bombs are just a few enemy tactics A Co. troopers encountered during their convoy exercise.
Wasilla, Alaska native, Spc. Robert William Quates, an orderly room clerk with A Co., DSTB, 1st Cav. Div., who served with the Mississippi National Guard in Iraq, found this training to be as close to the real thing as you can get without being on a convoy.
"I wish I would have had this training available to me before my first deployment," Quates said. It's a really good tool to practice SOPs (standard operating procedures), and standards for taking enemy contact. It was really good training, it makes you work together, and communicate; no hero stuff," he added.
The simulator and its operators have strived to provide realistic training to give deploying soldiers, new and old a boast of confidence to know they can take care of themselves in combat said Ritz.
"This is a good place for them to work out what they need to know. We don't do the training, we provide a service that a commander can use to train his troops safely and successfully, we provide everything except the soldiers and the leadership," Ritz added.