Fort McCoy News May 22, 2015

McCoy grows simulation-training environment

STORY & PHOTO BY SCOTT T. STURKOL
Public Affairs Staff

Fort McCoy's simulation-training environment is continuing to expand, said Training Support Officer Rob Weisbrod of the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security (DPTMS).

"This is a growing field for training," Weisbrod said. "And as it grows, we'll continue to grow."

Photo
Soldiers conduct simulated mission planning in the Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer facility at the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security simulation training complex May 12 as part of a training scenario.

Simulators and trainers already in use at Fort McCoy include: the Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trainer (RVTT); Virtual Battle Space Simulation (VBS3); Call-For-Fire Trainer (CFFT); Individual and Collective Engagement Skills Trainers (EST); Virtual Clearance Training Suite (VCTS); HMMWV (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle) Egress Assistance Trainer (HEAT); Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected (MRAP) Vehicle Common Driver Trainer (CDT); Dismounted Soldier Training System (DSTS); and Medical Simulation Training Center (MSTC).

"Most of these simulators are new training capabilities added at Fort McCoy since 2006," Weisbrod said.

"Utilizing simulation-training capabilities provides a great opportunity for units to conduct rehearsals before they actually go out to the live ranges. It provides units the opportunity to practice their battle drills, communications, and leadership skills."

Units use simulation training to practice for night operations.

"In the EST, we can simulate the requirements to do a night-fire operation," said Supervisory Training Instructor John Braman. Troops use the simulator in a darkened room, and a light flashes on the screen that simulates center mass of a target.

Capt. Kiel Archer, training officer for the 224th Engineer Battalion of the Iowa National Guard, said the EST helped more than 400 battalion Soldiers prepare for a recent night-fire qualification.

Some of the installation's simulators and trainers are located in the 200 block of Fort McCoy. Consolidating facilities helps centralize training, and eventually all of the simulators and trainers, except the MSTC, will be in that block, Weisbrod said.

The centralized training capability allows units to conduct round-robin training, and have better control of their training, Weisbrod said.

The 200 block currently is home to the RVTT, CFFT, EST, MRAP CDT, and a Reconfigurable Tactical Operations Center (RTOC).

The RTOC, completed in 2014, is not a simulator or trainer, but is available to serve as a tactical-operation center for units conducting an exercise.

"That's a building a unit can sign out and run their tactical-operations center," Weisbrod said. "It has the space, communication infrastructure, tables, and chairs required to set up a tactical-operations center.

"A unit has the option to set it up however they want in order to meet their standard-operating practices," Weisbrod said. "That's an increased capability (for that area)."

Weisbrod said numerous projects are planned to expand the 200 block and continue the consolidation of simulation-training facilities. This will include moving DSTS, VCTS, HEAT, and VBS3; building a facility to house mission-command training systems, Tactical Analysis Feedback Facility, and a larger MRAP trainer facility; and renovating building 220 to allow for better set up of a tactical-operations center and future hub of the Mission Command Training Center.

Plans also include adding outdoor TOC pads which are concrete pads that have electrical and communications capabilities for use as additional tactical-operations centers.

"All of the completed and planned facilities will provide Fort McCoy the required infrastructure of establishing what the Army refers to as a 'live, virtual-gaming, constructive, integrated training environment,'" Weisbrod said. "That environment then supports decisive-action training in support of Army plans, programs, and policies."

Weisbrod said Fort McCoy's simulation-training facilities also are a key marketing tool in maintaining and expanding the installation's military-training customer base.

"Once troops see how the simulators and trainers tie into their live training, it's a really easy selling point," Weisbrod said. "Simulation training will never replace the live training, but it will help enhance skills for those who train here. It's also a very cost-effective training method because it does not require ammunition and fuel."

The simulation-training facilities will be used during the Warrior Exercise and Combat Support Training Exercise.

"The 86th (Training Division) has blocked out seven days to run people through the simulation-training facilities for two of those exercises," Weisbrod said.

"That goes to show how important these training capabilities and facilities are to our customers."

For more information about simulation-training opportunities at Fort McCoy, call 608-388-2733 or 4534.