First Army Soldiers provide realistic training while minimizing risk, reducing cost
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2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Hepfer, senior enlisted Soldier for trainer/mentor, - Team 3 of the 1-335th Infantry Regiment, 205th Infantry Brigade, conducts a review of his Soldiers reactions after familiarization training at the Training Aids, Devices, Sim... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

CAMP ATTERBURY JOINT MANEUVER TRAINING CENTER, Ind. (April 1, 2013) -- Using the Training Aids, Devices, Simulators, and Simulations facility, a virtual simulation training facility, Soldiers of the 1-335th Infantry Regiment, 205th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division East, develop realistic training scenarios for the units they prepare to deploy to Afghanistan, Kosovo, the Sinai Peninsula, and the Horn of Africa.

"It's all part of ensuring the training provided is relevant, realistic, and reflects the most current condition Soldiers will face in theater," said Lt. Col. Jeremy Jelly, commander of the 1-335th Infantry Regiment. Jelly recently returned from a site visit in Africa.

At the Training Aids, Devices, Simulators, and Simulations, or TADSS, facility, three systems -- the Dismounted Soldier Training System, the Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer or RVTT, and the Virtual Battle Simulations -- can be integrated to provide a realistic virtual training platform programmable for any theater of operations while mitigating risk to Soldiers, added Jelly. While the systems do not replace field training, they do augment exercise systems by reducing the 'reset' time and allow units and Soldiers the ability to complete additional repetitions quicker and with less impact on finite resources -- like bullets and vehicles.

According to Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Hepfer, trainer mentor with 1-335th Infantry Regiment, syncing the virtual trainers allows units to strengthen their internal communication pathways and speed up their learning curve.

Instead of separate training where one or more units are detached and complete training independently of each other, the TADDS facility allows the unit to train together, simultaneously. The virtual systems allow the unit to face each other on the virtual battlefield: some act as opposing forces (in the VBS2 lab), others as the quick reaction force (in the RVTT), and still others as a dismounted force (at the DSTS). This allows everyone to remain engaged and respond appropriately throughout the scenario, Hepfer said.

"It's a time saver, particularly with the Reserve component. We may only get these Soldiers for a week or two. The virtual training is a much faster way for us to get these units from the crawl phase to the run phase with less funding," Hepfer said.

"You can mold the situations and with a wide variety of environments, and the ability to insert specific entities into the scenarios, the options for training opportunities are virtually limitless. Rehearsals for missions or live-fire exercises are just a couple of examples," Ramirez said. "Currently, the programmed training environments include mountainous, wooded, and desert. These are intended to simulate places like Afghanistan and the Sinai, but are not limited to only these specific scenarios."

Not only does it save time, but it saves money as well. The systems are a cost effective virtual way to allows squads and teams to refine tactics and conduct rehearsals creating muscle memory to ensure success in the field and on the range, Jelly said.

"The cost savings is amazing. Soldiers can go through the training scenarios until they feel comfortable and then go out to the range and use the muscle memory they've built to be successful," Jelly said. "By keeping the majority of their training in the virtual world we save money on ammo, fuel, the wear and tear of the vehicles, and decrease the environmental impact of our ranges."

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