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See Caption.
U.S. Army medics for 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, practice evacuating live victims during training with the close combat tactical trainer. It allowed soldiers to train in virtual reality. When a particular vehicle was “hit,” medics responded to the chambers corresponding to the compartments of the attacked tank. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Allison Churchill
Soldiers Simulate Battlefield Conditions
By U.S. Army Spc. Allison Churchill / 4th Infantry Division Public Affairs

FORT HOOD, Texas, March 9, 2005 – The soldiers of 1st Squadron, 10th Calvary Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team combined live, virtual and constructive training in the close combat tactical trainer, battle simulation center and the squadron tactical operations center, recently.

The exercise consisted of soldiers working out scenarios based on the national training center at Fort Irwin, Calif.

At the close combat tactical trainer, soldiers worked through a reconnaissance mission and engaged in fighting while closed in chambers simulating different tanks compartments.

Leaders watched the action on screens in the after-action review room and showed soldiers what they did correctly and what needs work.

"Training in the center removes factors that can affect training, such as weather, insects and general discomfort, which cannot be controlled when training outdoors. In here, the soldiers only focus on training."
Andy Stilley

Working in virtual reality had numerous advantages, said Maj. John Basso, plans and operations, 1st Squadron, 10th Calvary Regiment.

“We can train the crews together,” said Basso in commenting on the multi-location exercise.

“There are no distracters,” added Andy Stilley, Hood 2 site manager, close combat tactical trainer. Training in the center removes factors that can affect training, such as weather, insects and general discomfort, which cannot be controlled when training outdoors. “In here, the soldiers only focus on training.”

Medics of 1st Squadron, 10th Calvary Regiment were also able to practice with simulators. SimMan, a patient simulator controlled by software, was used when tanks were “hit” in the virtual exercise.

The 4th Infantry Division has three of the simulators, which were purchased for $36,000 each.

“It shows where the treatment is going,” said Sgt. 1st Class Dicky Strayhorn, medical platoon sergeant, 1st Squadron, 10th Calvary Regiment.

The medics also trained in reality, rushing to the scene of “tanks” that had been damaged, evacuating the drivers from their chambers.

“We’re getting as many experienced as possible,” said Strayhorn.

See Caption.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ronald Mandeville, operations noncommissioned officer, 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, tracks the movement of tanks training at the close combat tactical trainer and joint conflict and tactical simulation at the battle simulation center. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Allison Churchill

While two troops trained at the close combat tactical trainer, Calvary’s other troop experienced joint conflict and tactical simulation at the battle simulation center. The three troops rotated between the two centers.

The training’s biggest advantage, while working in a low-intensity urban battlefield, was teaching the soldiers how to report an event, said Capt. Jonathan Due, commander, Troop A.

“We’re recon,” said Due. “We have to be able to describe accurately what others are seeing on a map.”

Some of the events soldiers practiced through the joint conflict and tactical simulation included monitoring elections in “Tiefort City,” modeled after the urban warfare site at the national training center, providing security for a mayor and responding to snipers, improvised explosive devices and rocket propelled grenades, said Due.

Soldiers working in the Calvary's tactical operations center also received valuable training, taking reports from the simulated battles.

Basso said it was important for soldiers working in the tactical operations center to learn to track several situations at once, such as if one troop is meeting a mayor and another is raiding a house.

Staff Sgt. Ronald Mandeville said he agreed.

“It’s giving tactical operations center people a chance to practice,” said Mandeville, while plotting the troops’ locations on a map.

Basso said the training would be valuable for the future.

“The skills we’re learning here directly relate to Operation Iraqi Freedom,” said Basso.

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