FORT IRWIN, Calif. - The Army's mission is to fight and win the nation's wars. Training for war requires Soldiers immersed in realistic environments using actual tools of the profession.
How do we gain experience without actually firing live rounds at each other?
Enter the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement Systems, or MILES. MILES is a system of communication devices that is mounted on vehicles and worn by Soldiers in order to make force-on-force training more realistic.
The system is designed to simulate actual combat situations, said Sgt. Justin L. Cunningham, a tracked vehicle commander with Headquarters Company, 2d Battalion, 198th Armored Regiment, Mississippi Army National Guard.
During the 155th Armored Brigade Combat Team's National Training Center rotation at Ft. Irwin, California, units will use MILES gear during training exercises to replicate combat.
"This simulates if we were to get fired on. It kind of lets us know where the enemy is shooting from and where we got hit," said Cunningham, a Coldwater, Mississippi, resident.
There is one sensor in the front of the vehicle, one on the back, three on each side, and one on top, said Cunningham.
"MILES gear is going to be used for us to shoot, move and communicate while we're here," said Capt. Gerald McCarty, from Oxford, Mississippi, commander of Company A, 2d Battalion, 198th Armored Regiment. "It gives us the ability to engage the enemy and it sends signals through the sensors that are on the outside of the vehicle."
This highly anticipated training is crucial for the brigade because it provides a more genuine experience.
"This actually gives our crews a chance to practice the crew drills and put our live fire drills to use as far as shooting and maneuvering at the same time," said McCarty. "This isn't just sitting on a range, going down the lane, and shooting at pop-up targets. These are living bodies that we interact with."
The 155th ABCT's skills and capabilities have become more robust as a result of intense training exercises such as NTC over the past four years. The brigade continues to build its expertise from two Operation Iraqi Freedom mobilizations to remain a relevant and ready force that stands ready to deploy for any mission within Mississippi or abroad.