By Mrs. Melissa K Buckley (Leonard Wood)May 9, 2012
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. -- It may look like Nutter Field House's parking lot has been converted into a tractor trailer rest area of sorts, but the four containers staged there are parked there for another reason -- their contents are saving lives.
The Mobile Counter-Improvised Explosive Device Interactive Trainer is a four trailer, non-Military Occupational Specialty specific training set that gives troops the basic tools to recognize IEDs and related threats.
"It teaches them to think outside the box, to think like insurgents," said Seth Wiley, MCIT facilitator.
The MCIT is as realistic as the inside of a trailer can get. From the rugs the troops walk on to the dimly lit passageways they duck through while navigating through mock dwellings searching for indicators of IED production, troops are immersed in traditional central Asian surroundings.
According to Wiley, this interactive style of learning is beneficial as new information to young troops and as a refresher course for more seasoned veterans.
"(Terrorists) are taking our trash and making bombs. This is a game-changer for some troops because they aren't use to seeing this stuff," Wiley said. "There is only so much you can learn from a book. The more hands-on training you can do of anything just adds to your skill set."
The first trailer shows troops what makes up an IED and the mindset behind how IEDs are placed.
The second trailer is a mock courtyard where troops learn about indicators of IED production.
In the third trailer, troops learn about Counter Radio-controlled IED Electronic Warfare (CREW) devices.
Sgt. Dale Gage, 509th Route Clearance Company rear detachment, 5th Engineer Battalion, 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, found the third trailer to be the most valuable information to him.
"All of the CREW systems, I didn't know there were that many," Gage said.
In the fourth and final trailer there are two mock Humvees, complete with turrets and several screens with game controllers attached to them.
"This is where they take everything they have leaned from the first three trailers and employ it here," Wiley said.
Following his experience in the four trailers, Gage was glad he and his battle buddies went through the MCIT.
"It's all beneficial. It helps by showing us realistic stuff that we might not get to see otherwise," Gage said. "The house was cool because I didn't notice anything at first, but then they started pointing stuff out and I was like, 'Wow, I didn't see that.' It showed me some different ways and places (insurgents) hide things."
It takes about an hour and a half to go through all four trailers. The Joint Center of Excellence will have the MCIT set up on Fort Leonard Wood until June 4.
"They should come out here and do this because it's a lot of information and a good training aid. It was interesting and not complacent," Gage said.
The MCIT will be available from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and is available on weekends as requested for all units on Fort Leonard Wood to use.