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Counsel of colonels get hands-on, visit simulator, experience training

US Marine Corps News

By Lance Cpl. Abigail M. Wharton, Marine Corps Bases Japan

CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa -- The III Marine Expeditionary Force counsel of colonels met at the III MEF Motor Vehicle Simulator Training Facility to experience the facility and training capabilities first-hand, Feb. 17.

“We conduct tours like this occasionally to enhance the counsel’s capabilities by seeing what we discuss,” said Lt. Col. Raphael Hernandez, officer-in-charge, assistant chief of staff for operations and plans, III MEF. “It informs participants of what options are available.”

The counsel of colonels is composed of senior logistics staff members from III MEF and all of its major subordinate commands.

“We meet monthly with agendas tailored to the current needs of III MEF and its MSCs,” he said. “We discuss logistics, engineering and facilities we think affect III MEF as a whole.”

This month, the meeting was highlighted with a tour of the simulators.

“It’s easy for Marines on a command level to become disconnected from their junior counterparts,” said Chief Warrant Officer Justice M. Lasyone, motor transport officer, G-4 motor transport, 3rd Marine Division, III MEF. “This offers them the opportunity to have direct contact with training and relay first-hand experience of capabilities up to commanding generals and down to subordinates.”

The participants drove through a simulation that showed the range of possible conditions in the program including day, night, rain and snow.

“This has been a great opportunity for us to be exposed to critical tools that prepare drivers for the roads in Okinawa,” said Col. Michael Loudy, assistant chief of staff G-4, 3rd Marine Division, III MEF. “This allows leadership to experience (the) learning tools available instead of just hearing about (them).”

“All the scenarios we run in the course are based on a site survey taken in Okinawa as the program was developed to make it more realistic for drivers,” said Ken Sampsell, instructor and site manager, III MEF Motor Vehicle Simulator Training Facility. “There are signs for local towns drivers will see and all the driving is done on the left side of the road.”

The simulation can also be run in an urban or field environment. Another option included is training packages for different countries.

“We also have scenarios based on Iraq, Afghanistan and Europe,” Sampsell said. “We can even include improvised explosive device threats to help prepare drivers for the situational awareness they might need.”

The simulators use compressed air to move so the driver can feel how trucks handle in the conditions.

“That was very realistic,” Loudy said. “It’s amazing.”

The simulation training is required for all medium tactical vehicle replacement operators in Okinawa, Sampsell said.

For more information or to schedule unit training at the III MEF Motor Vehicle Simulator Training Facility call Bob Ledyard at 623-1036.

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