Fort McCoy News September 13, 2013

RVTT provides simulated convoy training

STORY & PHOTO BY ROB SCHUETTE
Public Affairs Staff

The Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer (RVTT) at Fort McCoy provides Soldiers with a comprehensive and realistic combat convoy training experience.

Soldiers using the RVTT have a variety of simulated weapons systems at their disposal. James Ossinger, RVTT site director, said the RVTT has four modules that can be configured into Humvees or Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Trucks, depending upon the topics a unit wants to focus on during training.

Photo for RVTT article
Soldiers participating in the Combat Support Training Exercise at Fort McCoy sharpen their convoy skills during a session at the Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer simulation equipment.

"The vehicles are surrounded by life-sized 360-degree projection screens, which cover the entire walls of a simulator, and provide life-like terrain and combat scenarios," Ossinger said. "The screens can provide depictions of military assets, including opposing forces, as well as non-combatant vehicles, pedestrians and other civilians."

Each training scenario can be customized to take advantage of one of 10 different training bases, which allows commanders to replicate realistic environments from their theater of operations. The Afghanistan training base is used most often, he said.

Ossinger said the RVTT has eight training missions that include tactical convoy, combat presence patrols, convoy escort missions, base defense operations, react to down helicopters and shoot/don't shoot in urban terrain. Missions can be conducted in day or nighttime conditions.

The RVTT can build specialized training scenarios to meet unit-specific needs.

"This usually takes three days, and we will work with the unit leaders to ensure it meets their needs and approval," Ossinger said.

The facility has been open since March 2012. In that time, the RVTT has trained more than 12,000 personnel — 3,312 in 2012 and 9,071, to date, in 2013.

Rob Weisbrod, Training Support Officer for the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS), said the simulation is especially valuable to units participating in exercises such as the Warrior Exercise or Combat Support Training Exercise (CSTX), because it provides them the opportunity to practice convoy operations in a simulated environment prior them executing live convoy operations on the various training areas.

"The RVTT is one of the most-realistic simulation trainers for training on convoy operations that we have at Fort McCoy," Weisbrod said. "Our customer base is any unit from combat- arms to combat-service-support units."

Weisbrod said the system is valuable to any unit because it provides them the opportunity to practice driving, communication, navigation, and battle drills. These skills are required for units conducting convoy operations from home station to Fort McCoy and tactical convoy operations in a theater of operations.

DPTMS is working with the U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation to develop a Fort McCoy terrain database, Weisbrod said.

This would allow unit leaders/members to see and conduct simulated training on various training ranges and facilities at Fort McCoy before using those facilities. Weisbrod said that can save transportation time and fuel and ammunition costs before they actually go to a training area.

Pfc. Danielle Walker, who was at Fort McCoy participating in the CSTX, said the training was excellent because it taught the Soldiers how to talk on the radios and how to request support.

"It helped teach us not to be scared of asking for help," Walker said. "Some of us didn't understand how to talk to higher headquarters, but this helps us get our requests to the right level."

Sgt. Leila Fernandez, who also participated in the CSTX, said the interactive training was good, and unit members don't get to do something like this very often.

"This in-depth training gave us more experience," Fernandez said.

Spc. James Thomas, another CSTX participant, said the training was excellent to help prepare for convoy operations.

"The training gets you thinking about using nine-lines (medical evacuation requests) and doing spot (intelligence) reports that would help in convoy operations," he said. "The graphics were decent and can help prepare units for Afghanistan."

Ossinger said the training is progressive, so Soldiers get better as they conduct more iterations of scenarios or techniques.

"We can customize the training to help units be better prepared in the skills they need, improve their reaction times and skills, and improve their leadership," he said.

Up to 20 Soldiers can train on the four stations, while two others can sit in the Tactical Operations Center to handle those duties.

To train at the facility units need only to bring their personal protective equipment. The RVTT staff will provide the rest, Ossinger said. Reservations to use the facility are requested two days in advance. Walk-ins will be accepted if units are not currently using the simulation equipment.

Facility time can be scheduled to accommodate unit needs. Ossinger said the RVTT facility is designed for serious combat training.

RVTT staff members, who are experienced and former military personnel, can assist units in preparing for their wartime needs.

For more information or to schedule use of the facility, call 608-388-6851 or 608-388-6852. Ossinger said information about scheduling the facility also is available on the public website at www.mccoy.army.mil by clicking on the Training and Coordination Information button.