By Spc. Jessica ToddJune 12, 2019
FORT CHAFFEE, Ark. - The Oklahoma Army National Guard is using the video simulator known as Virtual Battle Space III (VBS) while executing Western Strike missions for annual training.
Sgt. Raymon Russell, a heavy vehicle truck driver with Alpha Company, 777th Aviation Support Battalion, 345th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 90th Troop Command, based out of Okmulgee, Oklahoma, led his Soldiers on a virtual mission using the VBS system.
"The VBS system is a video game which allows us to pre-train, conducting our convoy training during the field training exercise," Russell said. "It allows us to drive the route we will be driving, react to indirect fire, react to improvised explosive devices, call up situational reports and move as an element."
The mission is to deliver supplies to fellow Soldiers out in the field during Western Strike. While on the road, they must also maintain a security posture which allows the Soldiers to keep accountability of sensitive supplies. Keeping a strong security posture includes looking for improvised explosive devices, combatants and other hazards along the route.
Mr. Ray Jurjens, the virtual integrator for the Virtual Battle Space III, directs the virtual mission and acts as the tactical operations center.
"The VBS system is much like your 'Call of Duty' game," Jurjens said. "The VBS system is the Army's program of record for doing games for training."
The advantage of using the VBS system, according to Jurjens, is being able to do 10 iterations of training using the same terrain, vehicles, and maps as a real-world situation.
"This training is more mental," said Pvt. Jordyn McGuire of A Co., 777 ASB. "Since we are National Guard, we don't do missions every single day, but VBS gives us a chance to review and get used to everything."
The Soldiers of A Co., 777 ASB, used the VBS system to prepare for their upcoming mission during Western Strike.
Various units across the Oklahoma Army National Guard are participating in Western Strike at Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas for their annual training exercise. Western Strike allows for the units to put into practice everything they have learned throughout the year.