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Support division leads the way with combat simulators

US Marine Corps News

10/8/2009 By Sgt. Vitaliy Rusavskiy, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

Training Support Division aboard Camp Pendleton is raising the bar when it comes to training simulators.

From Combat Convoy Simulators to the High-mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles Egress Assistance Trainer, the TSD located at 43 Area, offers state-of-the-art training designed primarily to save lives in combat zones.

“When units come out to train, we give them a tour of the facilities and give them a handout with information,” said Theodore Wilson, training device specialist, TSD, Camp Pendleton. “The handout is like a menu for units to decide what kind of program and scenarios they want to run.”

Combat Convoy Simulators can be planned out for different scenarios such as enemy fire from different locations on real world maps of Fallujah and Baghdad, Iraq. TSD is also in the process of getting maps of Afghanistan. Trainees can encounter simulated improvised explosive devices, either buried on the road or in vehicles.

Convoy operations also provide immersive environmental training for command and control procedures for vehicle and convoy commanders. The training scenarios are projected on a 360-degree screen, which display every vehicle that is a part of the convoy. Each CCS has four humvees and two medium tactical vehicle replacements, also known as 7-tons. The vehicles have mounted .50-caliber machine gun simulators that are synced within the training scenarios.

It is important for the unit training officers in charge and staff noncommissioned officers in charge to know their unit’s combat convoy standard operating procedures in order to provide proper training based on the unit’s mission, said Wilson.

“The first CCS was online and running July 2008, while CCS two opened September 2008,” said Wilson. “Now we have 16 months of training and experience with the CCS.”

Another training aid available at the TSD is the High-Mobility, Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles Egress Assistance Trainer. The HEAT is designed to teach service members how to quickly and safely exit a vehicle that has overturned. It also includes IED and enemy fire scenarios.

“There is much more than just putting a seatbelt on in this trainer,” said Wilson. “If you don’t strap down all of the gear that’s inside the vehicle, during a rollover anything loose becomes a projectile.”

According to I Marine Expeditionary Force’s general administrative message on training initiatives, service members deploying to U.S. Central Command’s area of operation are required to complete the HEAT certification.

In the future, TSD is planning to add a Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle egress trainer, which is similar to HEAT.

“The Army has been training with MET’s for a while now,” said Wilson. “We are scheduled to have two buffalo and two cougar MRAP egress trainers next year for better training and readiness of Marines.”

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