Marines prep for combat support with simulation

Battle Simulation Center exercise trains in communications, other operational support

Behind the front lines of battle in the field, command operations centers are the elements supporting ground operations – coordinating communications and enabling decision-making critical to the mission. Now, Marines in the I Marine Expeditionary Force (forward) are undergoing special training that uses simulation to prep them for operational support roles that are vital to savings lives.

The Mission Rehearsal Exercise, which launched Dec. 5, takes place on the grounds of the Battle Simulation Center at Camp Pendleton, Calif., where simulation is used to train Marines in a variety of different disciplines, including tactical operations, combat readiness, vehicle and weapons and language and culture skills.

But in the case of the Mission Rehearsal Exercise, Marines rehearse scenarios that require complex support skills, according to a recent DVIDS report. A combat operations center would be the entity that gets called when there’s an injury or casualty in the field, providing direction in response to the given scenario.

The training simulates the high-stress situations they may encounter in forward deployment, and is designed to help Marines establish and learn standard operating procedures that they can rely on amid the chaotic conditions of combat. It also serves to test the Marines’ abilities in operating under pressure.

“They get the same kinds of tools and reports as if they were really in the field,” Cory Buckney, BSC network manager, told DVIDS. “The scenarios are real things that happen too, such as having a platoon commander killed and now having the platoon sergeant take his responsibilities.”

The support-operations specific training is especially important because Marines in the I MEF will be taking command of the International Security Assistance Force’s Regional Command Southwest in Afghanistan once it is handed over from the Second Marine Division (II MEF). I MEF Marines will train and advise Afghan forces while headquartered at Camp Leatherneck in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

In other types of training at the BSC, a range of simulation capabilities are used. For example, the Office of Naval Research also operates the Infantry Immersion Trainer, a 30,000-sq. ft. former tomato packaging plant was converted into a multimedia simulation experience that includes holograms, live actors, smells and pyrotechnics to recreate the combat experience.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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