FORT LEE, Va. (March 1, 2016) -- Forty Soldiers from Fort Eustis' 690th Rapid Port Opening Element took a virtual trip into combat yesterday in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
Their mission -- to convoy eight vehicles from their location near Jalalabad Air Base to rescue and secure the crew of a downed helicopter until reinforcements arrive.
Enroute to the crash site they encountered roadside bombs, rocket propelled grenades, armed insurgents and artillery fire.
And yes, there were casualties, medevac helicopters were called, vehicles broke down and weapons malfunction.
This was all programmed into a computer simulation by instructor operators and maintenance teams at Fort Lee's Training Support Center to put the troops through their paces and provide the most realistic training possible.
In the after action review rooom, on a wall of huge monitors, Army officers watched the action unfold and evaluated how their troops would perform in actual combat.
Although it was a simulation, to the Soldiers it was all too real, as evidenced by the flurry of commands and situation reports crackling over field radios and the sound of Soldiers yelling to one another.
The center houses eight Reconfigurable Vehicle Simulators, or RVS for short.
Resembling full sized HMMWVs, each RVS is contained in separate rooms and are surrounded by a 360 degree projection screen.
Manufactured by Lockheed Martin, the simulators are linked by a sophisticated $10 million computer system which allows all eight RVSs to exist in a virtual world together.
The entire system, known as the Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer, is a fully immersive interactive, real-time training system which requires no fuel, bullets, ranges, support personnel or maneuver area and is an economically, environmentally, and a safer alternative to training elsewhere.
"RVTT gives commanders and Soldiers the opportunity to train and fight as a cohesive unit prior to entry into hostile fire zones," said Mark Menzies, site lead at the center. "The ability to rehearse and recon actual terrain models of their area of operation, refine standard operating procedures -- will save lives and improve combat efficiency.