Combat simulation allows continual training Print E-mail
Wednesday, 12 February 2014
Soldiers wear sensors and special helmets while training in a virtual combat environment.
Story and photo by 1st Lt. William Welsh
Special to GUIDON

Blistering heat, the singing of birds, the crack of rifle fire, and dust thrown up by incoming rounds; not what you would expect to experience in mid-Missouri, as Fort Leonard Wood braced Antarctic temperatures and snowfall.

But thanks to some unique training capabilities and opportunities, the seemingly impossible comes to life.

Basic Combat Training Soldiers of Company B, 1st Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment were using the Dismounted Soldier Training System, the Virtual Battle Space II simulation and the Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer.
These combat simulation systems provide cutting-edge technology allowing Soldiers to continue training regardless of the weather conditions.

Training opportunities include increased repetitions without expending limited resources, video play-back to facilitate learning through the after-action review process, the ability to rapidly change the scenario conditions (day to night, woodland to desert terrain, the type of adversary and weapons systems), thereby increasing the complexity as Soldiers and units master the tasks.

DSTS is a virtual training environment designed to give Soldiers an opportunity to hone the squad and convoy tactics learned over the first eight weeks of BCT.

The system consists of a large bank of computers that control a complex sensor suite worn by each individual Soldier.  A headset serves as the Soldier’s window into the virtual world.  Billed as “The first-ever fully immersive virtual simulation for U.S. Soldiers,” the DSTS made an immediate impact on the Soldiers and drill sergeants alike.

The system responds to a Soldier’s actions based on a series of sensors placed on the body to control his or her movements inside the virtual world.  Soldiers must react and navigate within a detailed, virtual world.

“It’s awesome.  Why don’t we do this more often?” said Sgt. 1st Class Paul Edens, drill sergeant, as he directs his virtual insurgent to open fire on a group of exposed trainees. 

The trainees are easily surprised the first few times, but eventually get their bearings and their confidence. 

By the second or third time around, the Soldiers are communicating clearly and returning effective fire.

It is not all about fun and games.  Soldiers are taught valuable lessons about tactical movement and communication.  

Trainers control the healing and re-spawning of trainees, allowing Soldiers to learn and move on. 

Multiple iterations sharpen the full spectrum of tactical skills the Soldiers have been developing in training.

“Even though the extreme weather is significantly impacting the nation, the opportunity to utilize the Dismounted Soldier Training System, the Virtual Battle Space II simulation, and the Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer simulation systems allowed our Soldiers to continue to meet the training objectives outlined for Basic Combat Training’s culminating Field Training Exercise and complete their training without losing out,” said Lt. Col. Erik Anderson, commander, 1-48th Inf. Bn.

(Editor’s note: Welsh is Company B, 1-48th Inf. Bn. Executive officer.)
Last Updated ( Thursday, 27 February 2014 )