By Sgt. Kimberly K. MenziesSeptember 19, 2012
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky-Soldiers from 4th Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division conduct walk-and-shoot mission rehearsal using Virtual Battle Space II, Sept. 4 to 6, 2012, at Fort Campbell, Ky.
The Virtual Battle Space II is a first-person shooter gaming simulation program designed to test and refine standard operating procedures to assist with combat readiness.
"The VBSII is a first-person shooter, gaming simulation mission-rehearsal tool which will help reinforce the intellectual aspects of training," said Bryan Lucke, the Live, Virtual, Constructive and Gaming Coordinator for the 101st Abn. Div. at the Fort Campbell Kinnard Mission Training Complex.
Earlier versions of the program were similar to Xbox games such as Call of Duty and were equipped with geo-typical terrain such as a fictitious village not identifiable on a map.
The Soldiers are now actually training on geo-specific terrain, which is a digital representation of identifiable terrain in places such as Afghanistan or Fort Campbell.
"So the Soldiers are actually doing mission rehearsals of the same tasks they will do during the walk-and-shoot," said Lucke.
Many people may be familiar with the idea of Soldiers training via digital resources but the VBSII is more than just a video game for training it is a tool commanders can design specifically to their training needs.
"We can design the training to be as specific as a commander needs it to be made," said Adam William, the virtual team chief at the KMTC.
"The program is an intellectual tool. It helps reinforce concepts and theories."
With this training, commanders are better able to access and reinforce situational standard operating procedures while alleviating many resource concerns.
"With this training commanders are able to save resources and cut range times in half," said Williams.
The VBSII can also be used as part of what is referred to blended training.
"Blended training allows Soldiers to use the virtual training alongside many of the equipment they might use as part of their duties during their mission," said
Blended training occurs when Soldiers utilize both the virtual training simulation alongside their actual equipment such as radios.
"This type of training is definitely beneficial to leaders and the Soldiers," shares Capt. Jeff D. Aebischer, the battalion fires support officer in charge for 2nd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 4th Bde., 101st Abn. Div. "The virtual rehearsal allows us to go through the mission, get live, real-time feedback without utilizing our sparse assets."
The actual style of training may not be the only beneficial side affect of utilizing the VBSII for training.
"The VBSII learning environment is low intensity," shares Aebischer."This makes it easier for many of the Soldiers to learn, it enables us as leaders to reinforce lessons and for the Soldiers to grasp things more quickly because they are already in the right frame of mind."
The greatest asset this program can help provide is an added combat preparation.
"This training allows Soldiers to be more confident in their abilities which will enable them to be more efficient in combat," said Aebischer."In the end, that can save lives."