"Roger that base, Red Team is moving out."
"Red One, this is Red Two we are dead in the water."
"Roger that Red Two, Red One is proceeding on mission."
The above exchange would be common on the field of battle. It may surprise some that the exchange took place right here in Dyersburg on Saturday, Jan. 12 during a two-day training exercise and demonstration involving the National Guard's Recruit Sustainment Program (RSP). The exercise involving tanks provided hands-on experience for Team K Royal Knights, the local RSP platoon.
Tanks? In Dyersburg?
That's correct -- there were tanks on hand at the Dyersburg Armory, but not in the way one would imagine. The exercise was made possible by a very sophisticated simulator provided by Computer Science Corporation, a private firm contracted by the U.S. Army's Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO STRI).
"The simulators allow the recruits to work together and it gives them an idea of what it is like to be in a tank unit," said Operations Manager Ronald Webb, a retired soldier who spent his career working in tanks.
The simulators are extremely realistic providing multiple environments soldiers can train on including: forests, open terrain, cities, and mountains.
But how does it all work?
The platoon begins and ends its exercise in the After Action Review Station (AARS) where an instructor from the Warrior Training Alliance Division of CSC briefs the soldiers on their mission. A commander can monitor his/her unit from the AARS watching every movement, explosion and listening to the chatter between teams as they maintain radio contact.
"This is a good way for them to work together," said Woods. "Teamwork gives them an idea of what it's like to be in a tank unit and ultimately what it will be like in basic training and in the Army."
Once everyone is situated in their role, the brains of the operation begin throwing out real war scenarios at them. According to Webb the MCCTT can simulate enemy forces, improvised explosive devices (IED), artillery and more. However, since this is a demonstration exercise for the RSP recruits, the focus of the training is to get soldiers talking to one another and working together.
After the simulation is over soldiers return to the AARS where the mission can be played back for them and they can analyze what went wrong and where they can improve. The Army's ability to prepare soldiers through a simulation gives it an edge, as it can better prepare soldiers for the dangers they may face in combat situations and potentially save lives.
"It is no longer, here is your rifle and go to war," said Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Cole, Recruiting and Retention NCO. "There is a lot that goes into preparing a soldier before they are deployed into a combat situation or any hostile environment. This is an invaluable tool in doing that."