Fort McCoy News April 11, 2014

RVTT serves up battlefield tactics in a digital world

STORY & PHOTO BY SGT. PETER ROSS
210th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

FORT MCCOY, Wis. — A crew of Soldiers navigate a dusty, dangerous road through hostile enemy territory, inside their armored Humvee. Their eyes constantly scan the distance for any signs of danger, when suddenly an explosion rocks their vehicle and bullets from small-arms fire ricochets off the vehicle's exterior.

Photo for RVTT article
Soldiers of the 803rd Quartermaster Company, 642nd Battalion, 143rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, use the Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer simulator at Fort McCoy, Wis., March 29, as part of Warrior Exercise (WAREX). WAREX is a two-week Army Reserve and National Guard training exercise that includes more than 60 units from across 30 states and Puerto Rico. More than 4,500 Soldiers are participating.

Soldiers on today's battlefields must have the crucial skills to survive these types of scenarios, and thanks to some high-tech equipment here, they will.

That equipment is a sophisticated vehicle scenario simulator called a Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer (RVTT). It is made up of large computer screens surrounding a stationary vehicle. It provides a 360-degree view for Soldiers inside. This allows them to interact with what they see by firing weapons at enemy targets, swerving around obstacles.

These Soldiers are getting first-hand experience with the equipment as they participate in a large-scale, scenario-based exercise called Warrior Exercise (WAREX) 86-14-02. This exercise is designed to enable Soldiers to build their basic warrior skills and increase their unit-readiness levels.

More than 4,500 Army Reserve and National Guard Soldiers are undergoing training.

"Team-building exercises like these gives me the cohesion and confidence in knowing that the Soldiers I am deploying with will have my back," said Spc. Avery Jenkins, a power generator mechanic, assigned to 803rd Quartermaster Company, 642nd Battalion, 143rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command.

One of the advantages of the RVTT is it can accommodate an entire platoon at one time. There is a command-and-control room that unit commanders can use to assess their Soldiers' performance firsthand as they face various scenarios.

Most of those who received the training seem to enjoy it.

"This system is new to me, but it's fun," said Sgt. 1st Class Boris Tucker, a platoon sergeant, with the 803rd. "The different tactics they used made us work as a team to achieve our objectives."

"I would like to see these Soldiers leave here with the knowledge of proper convoy operations and how to accomplish their mission down range," said Warrant Officer Mario Pope, accountable officer for the 282nd Quartermaster Company, 642nd Battalion, 143rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command. "This training will give them the right tools and confidence to take on a deployment."