|Story & Photo Rob Schuette, Public Affairs Staff
Fort McCoy is one of 28 Army installations receiving new Dismounted
Soldier Training System (DSTS) equipment.
Brad Stewart, Fort McCoy Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization
and Security (DPTMS) Director, said the Department of the Army
accelerated the fielding schedule to ensure joint military forces had
access to this gaming system as part of their Army Force Generation
training cycle. Fort McCoy received the DSTS early in the fielding
process as one of U.S. Army Forces Command designated Regional
Collective Training Centers and a U.S. Army Reserve Command Combat
Support Training Center.
Sgt. 1st Class John Nixon (left) and Staff Sgt. Felicia Ingram
of the Staff Sgt. Todd R. Cornell Noncomissioned Officer Academy
at Fort McCoy try out the new equipment in the Dismounted
Soldier Training System. The system is available now.
Active-duty, Reserve and National Guard installations are included in
the fielding sites. The system, which consists of the computer program
and equipment, costs a little more than $550,000.
DSTS generates training scenarios based on a live-virtual and
gaming-integrated training environment. Units can use the system to
train on various simulated dismounted scenarios. Personnel from any
military service that have a ground mission, including the Marines, Navy
and Air Force, also can use the system.
According to a DSTS news release, DSTS includes a fully immersive
environment with high-fidelity graphics and technology that enables
joint military forces to virtually interact with their physical
environment and use combat equipment. These joint forces use natural
motions just as they would in a live environment to perform motion
maneuvers, such as leaning around or under an obstacle.
“It’s another system that helps us attain our strategic vision,” Stewart
said. “It helps us create an integrated training environment, which can
link live, virtual, constructive, and gaming simulation systems to
provide commanders with a common operational picture of their unit’s
missions across the entire decisive action training environment
available at Fort McCoy to meet unit commander training objectives.”
Stewart said, for example, a unit or units could conduct scenarios
including training on the DSTS, training at another Fort McCoy
simulation facility and training at a field location and be tasked with
coordinating all of the training at the various locations to accomplish
Additionally, this helps Fort McCoy meet the Army Reserve training
strategy as the chief of the Army Reserve has directed.
Rob Weisbrod, Training Support officer, Fort McCoy DPTMS, said up to
nine Soldiers participate at one time. Soldiers don the man-wearable
immersive training system equipment, and the DSTS replicates most of the
Army gear, including three types of weapons, necessary for training
Available weapons in DSTS are M249 machine guns (squad automatic
weapons), M4 rifles with M320 grenade launchers and M4 rifles.
Soldiers using the DSTS equipment stand on a type of pad several feet
wide and do not move off of the pad during the scenario.
The technology, which includes Bluetooth, projects their actions and
reactions as dismounted Soldiers and interacts with other personnel,
equipment, weapons, etc., as part of a simulated battlefield environment
in a virtual-reality scenario.
DSTS has the capability to transport the Soldiers to different locations
in a simulated scenario using military vehicles.
The DSTS equipment contains the best features of other simulation
equipment, much of which Fort McCoy has, and brings the scenarios
together in a fully immersive virtual-training environment, Weisbrod
Soldiers can view the simulated video-game type scenarios and their
interaction with the scenarios through helmet-mounted display equipment.
“The only thing units have to bring along for the training is their Army
Combat Helmets,” Weisbrod said. “However, units must coordinate the
scenarios they want to execute ahead of time to ensure they meet the
commanders’ training objectives.”
Mike Borchers, a contracted technician for Intelligent Decisions Inc.,
the maker of the equipment, said the equipment can provide scenarios
based on known deployment information and/or it can be customized to
provide specialized training geared to units’ needs. Borchers, who
provides operational support, and Ranse Clark, who provides maintenance
support, are the on-site contractors supporting training on the system.
“The equipment will be valuable to any Soldier who has to conduct
missions on foot,” Borchers said. “They can be medical, military police,
civil affairs personnel, etc. They are projected as real people who
react to a scenario and experience reactions to their simulated
A number of sensors are built into the equipment, including on the arms,
leg, back packs, etc., to provide a virtual scenario depiction, Borchers
The equipment provides both video and sound depictions of a mission and
allows for communication between the participants and the system
operators. Operators also can program in scenarios to train the Soldiers
in different tactics.
The DSTS system allows for a tactical training experience, enabling
Soldiers to shoot, move and communicate as a cohesive squad instead of
as individuals, according to a DSTS news release. Ultimately, through
DSTS, Soldiers experience true tactical training while defending virtual
fortresses or towns within the simulation, which offers them the unique
opportunity to enhance team and squad tactics.
Advantages of the equipment include elimination of travel time to
training areas, no ammunition use, and no weather considerations,
Because the equipment is mobile, Mobile Training Teams can provide
off-site training, including to units participating in a weekend drill.
After a DSTS scenario is completed, participants can watch a replay of
the training scenario during an after-action review. Commanders can use
the review to improve their unit’s performance, Borchers said.
The system also has the capability to incorporate Fort McCoy range
designs into the simulated training environment, Weisbrod added.
This allows units to conduct their rehearsals in a simulated Fort McCoy
training environment to prepare for their missions prior to conducting
live training at installation ranges.
DSTS training capacity is four to six squad missions per day, he said.
Weisbrod said the DSTS will complement other simulated systems, such as
the Virtual Battle Space Simulation, the Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical
Trainer and the Engagement Skills Trainer, already available at the
Eventually, all of the simulation systems will be grouped together so
units can train on all the simulators in one facility or area of the
post, he said.
For more information about the DSTS, contact Mike Borchers at
(email@example.com) or Ranse Clark at 608-567-9939 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
To schedule use of the facility, call DPTMS Range Scheduling at