"Virtual Army Experience" Traveling Exhibit Offers Hands-on Test Drive of Soldiering in U.

By Mr. Paul Boyce (FORSCOM)February 13, 2007

The U.S. Army launched Feb. 12 the Virtual Army Experience, a high-tech, team-based experience designed to immerse visitors in the operational roles of Soldiers in the U.S. Army. This 10,000 square-foot interactive traveling exhibit brings the Army's exceptionally popular computer game, America's Army: Special Forces (Overmatch), to a life-size networked world to provide visitors with a virtual test drive of Soldiering. In the Virtual Army Experience, participants employ teamwork, leadership and high-tech equipment as they take part in a hands-on virtual mission to capture a terrorist leader. The Virtual Army Experience debuts this week at Speedweeks in Daytona, Fla. During 2007 the Army will deploy the Virtual Army Experience to 35 events around the nation. The Virtual Army Experience schedule is available at www.americasarmy.com and www.goarmy.com.

"The Virtual Army Experience provides visitors with unparalleled insight into today's high-tech Army in which smart capable Soldiers work within elite teams to master the most complex and demanding situations," said Col. Casey Wardynski, Project Director for America's Army and originator of the concept for the Virtual Army Experience. "Upon entering the Virtual Army Experience visitors meet virtual members of their team - skilled professionals in fields ranging from aviation to communications. From this point forward visitors gain an appreciation of the degree to which the Army prepares young adults to be confident, skilled and trusted."

In the 20-minute Virtual Army Experience participants receive video briefings by Soldiers who span the expertise, backgrounds and personal goals typical of Soldiers who make the Army the world's premier land force. At the Joint Operations Center, participants receive an intelligence, force protection, signal, support and current situation briefing to prepare them to enter a virtual combat operation. Participants then enter the mission simulator area where, using adapted combat systems that employ laser engagement and force feedback technology to replicate the feel and function of Army equipment, they execute a simulated operation in the War on Terrorism. The participants fall-in on six HMMWV simulators modeled on vehicles employed by Army Special Forces, and onto two overwatch or covering positions where participants employ light arms and TOW anti-tank missiles. Working as a team, participants are charged with executing the ground component of a raid on a terrorist stronghold. Upon mission completion, participants move to the After Action Review area where they receive a debriefing on their performance. The Virtual Army Experience also includes several interactive exhibits including multiplayer versions of the America's Army computer game and opportunities to operate the Packbot Robot.

The Virtual Army Experience will also host appearances by America's Army Real Heroes at select events across the country. Launched in September 2006, the America's Army Real Heroes program offers a glimpse into the accomplishments of Soldiers who have distinguished themselves in combat and earned citations for bravery and valor. Their accomplishments are highlighted in the America's Army PC game, in a line of collectable action figures and on the game's website www.americasarmy.com and on the official U.S. Army www.GoArmy.com website.

With more than 8 million registered users, who have invested over 200 million hours virtually exploring the Army from Basic Training to operations in the War on Terrorism, America's Army ranks among the top ten online PC action games played worldwide. The game provides a unique, interactive experience allowing players to gain a perspective into Army occupations and assume virtual roles as Soldiers in the U.S. Army. Players navigate through challenges real Soldiers confront. Just as with real Soldiers, player progression and success in the Game is governed by their adherence to the Army's set of noble values. As players navigate challenges within the Game, new opportunities for advancement and development unfold ranging from service wth the elite 82d Airborne Division to roles with the Special Forces.

America's Army Game

Launched on July 4th 2002, America's Army is an innovative PC action game that provides young adults with an inside perspective and a virtual role in today's high-tech Army. The America's Army game presents a virtual portal into the Army for exploring the development of Soldiers in individual and collective training to their employment in simulated missions in the Global War on Terrorism.

The America's Army game has had 23 updates featuring new technology, new missions and new Army military occupational specialties that players could explore since the game debut. The most recent updates are part of the America's Army: Special Forces series which focuses upon the central role Special Forces play in the Global War on Terrorism and includes America's Army: Special Forces (Special Forces Assessment and Selection) released November 2003; America's Army: Special Forces (Q Course) released May 2005; and America's Army: Special Forces (Overmatch) (released September 2006).

About the Army

Through the teamwork of the more than 1.1 million Soldiers in the active Army, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve, the U.S. Army is the world's premier land force. Today, Soldiers of the U.S. Army are the front line in the Global War on Terrorism. For more information on the U.S. Army, go to www.goarmy.com or www.army.mil.

Media may contact for more information: Lori Mezoff, phone: (301) 879 9030, or E-mail: lori.mezoff@us.army.mil

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