[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                    August 28, 2009
Training

Soldiers use virtual reality equipment during Patriot Warrior

BY STAFF SGT. KaRONDA FLEMING, 210th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

     Adrenaline rushes through everyone’s veins as the convoy travels through the streets of Samarra, Iraq during a virtual reality scenario at Fort McCoy.

Photo: Sgt. David A. Johnson (left) and Spc. Joshua H. Foote (right), with the 805th Military Police Company from Garner, N.C., receive VCOT instruction from Staff Sgt. Benjamin A. Towne. (Staff Sgt. KaRonda Fleming)
Sgt. David A. Johnson (left) and Spc. Joshua H. Foote (right), with the 805th Military Police Company from Garner, N.C., receive VCOT instruction from Staff Sgt. Benjamin A. Towne. (Staff Sgt. KaRonda Fleming)   

Soldiers from 805th Military Police Company prepared for future missions by performing several training missions at Fort McCoy on the virtual convoy operations trainer (VCOT) during the Patriot Warrior 2009 exercise. The exercise was held Aug. 8-28.

The VCOT is an interactive video simulator that allows Soldiers to train for convoy operations in a virtual combat environment, said Staff Sgt. Benjamin A. Towne. Towne is a full-time National Guard Infantryman with the 2nd Battalion, 426th Regiment, who is a VCOT instructor.

"The equipment is designed to give troops the most realistic training on convoys in Iraq as possible," Towne said. "All the maps are actually maps of the different places in Iraq, and during this training right now they are in Samarra."

Towne said the simulator is programmed to hold a list of hundreds of scenarios and mission possibilities to include maps of Samarra, Tikrit, and Baghdad.

Spc. Joshua H. Foote, a military policeman, with the 805th Military Police Company based out of Garner, N.C., said, "I like this training because it is as close to real world as you can get."

Detailed replicas of the cities were taken from actual streets in Iraq.

Towne said the VCOT allows for the Soldiers to run their convoy mission with an unexpected outcome of lethal ambushes by insurgents.

The main objective of the VCOT exercise is to allow units to practice their basic radio communication skills, work as a team, and move around as one unit in various up-armored vehicles.

Towne said the training is more effective because it is hands-on. "Instead of a classroom environment, you are reacting to direct fire, indirect fire, and Improvised Explosive Devices."

There are many advantages of using the VCOT for training.

Towne said the simulator eliminates the cost of using real vehicles and ammunition and saves the time it would take to set up a live convoy. Soldiers said a combination of virtual and live convoy training may be the best way to prepare for convoy operations.

 

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