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Heavy-vehicle simulator opens in Europe

By Spc. Jennifer McFadden

DEXHEIM, Germany (Army News Service, Feb. 27, 2006) – The first heavy-wheeled-vehicle driver simulator of its kind in Europe was opened on Anderson Barracks Feb. 22.

Being one of three in the Army, the simulator is designed to have the form, fit and feel of driving six groups of heavy military vehicles from Hemmets to 5-tons by using a hydraulics system, realistic instrument panels and a numerous- scenario program.

In a ribbon cutting ceremony Feb. 22, Col. Guy Beougher, 1st Armored Division’s support brigade commander, and Lt. Col. James Kinkade, commander of 123rd Main Support Battalion, officially opened the simulator building.

“We want to avoid Soldier casualties due to inexperience,”

Beougher said. “We have a system now that Soldiers can use to be

better drivers. We want to make our mistakes here, in simulation

instead of the real world where we lose lives.”

“For first time drivers, using the simulator has show to decrease the percentage of accidents in Germany by 19 percent,” said Sgt. Derwood Sloan, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the 123rd Main Support battalion’s Driver’s Academy.

With seven skill levels and an abundant of variables, the

scenario possibilities are almost endless for not only the 1st Armored Division Soldiers, but all Soldiers across the US Army Europe footprint, officials said.

The simulator also has three different dashboards representing various military vehicles to produce an accurate training environment.

Practical skills, driving in hazardous conditions and decision making skills are just a few focus points of the program.

“We can change the weather, the traffic levels and even the

behavior of the traffic,” explained Sloan. “The driver can drive in the city, on the Autobahn (highway) or off road. There is even a course through cones to teach maneuverability,” Sloan said.

“If drivers can drive here with a perfect score they can drive anywhere through any condition.”

The driver simulator system is now open to 1st Armored Division troops.

(Editor’s note: Spc. Jennifer McFadden serves with the 1st Armored Division Public Affairs Office.)

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