By Sgt. William Smith
4th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office
Nine Soldiers walk down the road, scanning their sectors until they see something out of the ordinary; they halt, and dive for cover as they react to sniper fire zinging overhead and call up a nine-line medevac for one of their wounded.
This is one of the many scenarios available for Soldiers at the Close Combat Tactical Trainer, which uses the virtual Dismounted Soldier Training System to provide a variety of computer-generated combat scenarios.
“The DSTS is a virtual system used to train basic battle drills, movement drills, reacting to contact, route clearance and so on,” said Mykel Gurule, operator, DSTS. “It allows them to practice calling up nine-line medevacs, nine-line unexploded ordnance reports, getting attacked by snipers; anything you can dream up, we can do.”
The DSTS incorporates individual projections into specialized helmets to provide a large variety of training opportunities, from basic movement and battle drills, to more in-depth tailored scenarios to fit a unit’s needs.
“A new popular scenario is entry control point. We created an entrance to a forward operating base, and it actually gives the Soldiers the chance to look at each vehicle with a mirror and conduct all the steps of that vehicle search,” Gurule said.
Josh Hitchcock, operations manager, Mission Training Complex, said they like to blend training with as many aspects as possible to make the training as accurate as they can.
“With the vehicle search piece, we can incorporate the counter-improvised explosive device program, which is run by the Mission Support Element,” Hitchcock said. “We can bring their experts over to do the vehicle search piece with the units prior to them getting into the system. That way they know what they are looking for and how to do it before the mission starts.”
The system’s more dynamic capabilities include instantly changing some of the obstacles that the squad is faced with.
“We have a semi-automated forces computer, where the leadership can watch the whole scenario,” Gurule said. “As the squad is going through, leadership can send in last minute orders, changing the mission.
“They can see what is going on live and tell us to change things, (such as) ‘I want you to put an IED on that road,’ or ‘they are not paying attention, hit them with a sniper,’” he said. “We can change things on the fly, without the squad ever seeing it happen.”
The cost-effectiveness of the system is an advantage which will allow units to remain prepared for future operations.
“Cost is one big advantage, it does not cost the unit anything to use as long as it is within a 40-hour span,” Hitchcock said.
“There is no maintenance cost for the unit on the equipment, and hours (spent) picking up brass afterwards. The training block is flexible and doesn’t have to be the standard Monday through Friday.”
The DSTS also has the capability to supplement a nine-man squad with platoon and company-sized digital Soldier simulations to assist in maneuvers.
DSTS can be used by Soldiers on profiles, Hitchcock said. They can train within the limits of their profiles because it is a virtual scenario, and they won’t have to worry about their physical limitations.
The CCTT is located in building 2135 on Khe Sanh Street. Unit training can be scheduled by calling 526-1352 or 433-6903. For a complete list of training available, visit the War Fighter Catalog at http://carsportal.carson. army.mil/dir/dptm/mctc/default.aspx.