FORT KNOX, Ky. --1st Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) civilians had the opportunity to test out the Army's newest virtual trainer, the Squad Advanced Marksmanship-Trainer (SAM-T), Jan. 16, 2020 at the Fort Knox Virtual Training Facility.

David Dusterhoff, deputy chief of staff, 1st TSC, said the command's civilians had previously expressed a desire to start having team-building events. After attending a recent Fort Knox Council of Colonels, he learned that the SAM-T system was available for civilian use and thought it would be a good place to host the first event.

"We wanted to do this to build camaraderie and esprit de corps among our civilian workforce," Dusterhoff said. "This was a good first event, and it ended up being a perfect place for team-building."

William Pace, lead weapons instructor for Oak Grove Technologies, led participants through various marksmanship scenarios and provided them with instruction on how to use the replica M4 rifle and M9 pistols.

Pace said the intent of the SAM-T is to train Soldiers on advanced marksmanship techniques.

"It is the newest virtual reality trainer and is set up to augment the current EST [Engagement Skills Trainer] systems," said Pace. "It focuses on advanced marksmanship techniques as well as basic battle drills."

While marksmanship with military weapons isn't a requirement for most civilian positions, the event provided an opportunity for civilians to interact and relieve stress, as well as provide some insight on the weapons their military teammates use in the field.

"It's a great bonding experience," said Michelle Davis, training, readiness, and exercises (TREX) specialist, 1st TSC. "It's rare for us all to get to intermingle and do something that is fun; it's a safe stress relief," she added.

Carlotta Hunter, protocol officer, 1st TSC, agreed. "It was a fun event and also great training, personal and professional," Hunter said. "The two gentlemen who facilitated the training were extremely knowledgeable and patient. Their extra instruction made the event even more productive."

The 1st TSC will continue to schedule team-building events to build camaraderie and esprit de corps among the Department of the Army civilian workforce.