Oct. 27, 2009

Hampton Roads Soldiers conduct high-tech simulation training during drill weekend

By Maj. Cotton Puryear
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia Guard Soldiers from the Portsmouth-based 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment conducted high-tech simulation training using the Close Combat Tactical Trainer Oct. 24 as part of the unit's drill weekend at the State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach. The simulators enable to Soldiers to gain valuable experience with unit-level tactical movement without having to travel to the Virginia Guard's maneuver training center at Fort Pickett.

 

Maj. Gailor Garner, the operations officer for 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat Team, monitors the simulated combat mission being conducted by Soldiers from A Troop Oct. 24 using  the Close Combat Tactical Trainer at the State Military Reservation in  Virginia Beach. (Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

“The CCTT allows National Guard units to conduct high-intensity maneuver training that would normally take hundreds of acres of land,” said Maj. Gailor Garner, operations officer for 2nd Squadron. “We are able to practice the way we would spread out our vehicles in a tactical situation using a computer simulation.”

The CCTT is a mobile system housed in a tractor trailer and used to simulate the Humvee gun trucks normally used by the unit. The Soldiers used the simulators to train on tactical movement and specialized cavalry missions of zone reconnaissance and security screen. The particular simulators used for the training were configured as Bradley Fighting Vehicles, but the squadron was able configure the simulators to better represent the capabilities of the Humvee.

 

Soldiers in the command post for A Troop, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry  Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat Team track the movement of their platoons conducting a simulated combat mission Oct. 24 (Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Garner said the simulators allow the unit to train on a scale it wouldn’t normally be able to train without going to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin or the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk where they would have. Garner said the simulator training also allows the unit to train on a scenario multiple times, and they can restart a particular scenario without having to physically drive back to the start point with their vehicles.

“The Soldiers love it,” Garner said of the simulation training. “This is a chance for them to train as a unit they would go to war in.”

The simulation training allows the unit to conduct training without the costs of fuel, repair parts and ammunition, but still provides real world benefits, Garner said. “If Soldiers can navigate and find their way around in virtual reality land, the real world is actually much easier,” he said. “If they can master the skills here, it is easier to do in the real world.”

 

A vehicle commander from A Troop, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry  Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat Team, uses a simulated 360 degree view  of the battlefield in the Close Combat Tactical Trainer at the State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach Oct. 24. (Photo by Maj. Cotton Puryear, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

“Some of our younger guys say this is a lot like their video games,” said Capt. Brian Gallavan, commander of A Troop. “It is not a game, and they take this training very serious and can use this training to prepare for potential missions. The drivers learn how to drive, our gunners learn how to use their weapons system and our vehicle commanders learn how to call in reports.”

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