26 October 2011

Nice Article on the USMC Infantry Immersion Trainer

The Charlotte Observer has a nice article about the IIT at Camp Lejeune. An excerpt:

The Marines came in armed with weapons and months of preparation for a scheduled deployment to Afghanistan early next year.

They entered the trainer through a walled-in area outdoors that has a town common on one side and a small cemetery with stacked-stone graves on the other.

Inside the building, the old concrete floor of the warehouse is obscured under packed earth and loose gravel paths that meander among 25 one- and two-story buildings that serve as village homes, shops, school, medical clinic, police station and a mosque. Gardens are planted outside some of the homes, ragged bicycles lean against stucco walls. A vegetable cart is parked over here, a poultry cart there. Birds chirp, dogs bark and children cry through speakers mounted above the buildings. Scent generators puff out the odors of barnyards, meat being roasted and a pervasive sweet smell that is supposed to simulate a wood fire.

About two dozen costumed role players populated Logahalam on Thursday, and about 150 cameras recorded the way Marines related with them and their surroundings so officers could review the exercises immediately afterward to talk about successes and missed chances.

Avatars, controlled by trainers in a computer room inside the building, can interact with the Marines as well.

The two teams in the trainer Thursday performed differently on their first visits to the village. One team gained the support of villagers, while the other angered the village chief by declining his offer to help administer aid to an injured man. But both learned that somewhere in Logahalam a man was hiding weapons he was selling to the Taliban. On their second trip in, the Marines were supposed to find the man and his cache.

Both squads suffered losses as a result of arms fire and homemade bombs while they were making their way through the town, and eventually they pulled out before accomplishing their goals.

The Marines have three other Infantry Immersion Trainers, two in California and one in Hawaii, all designed to help harden Marines against the stress of combat. Fighting forces must switch rapidly among three roles on the modern battlefield: full-scale military action, peacekeeping operations and humanitarian aid. Young Marines often must make the shoot-don't shoot decision in a split second in chaotic conditions.

Go read the rest, but ignore the comments. Seems like every newspaper online has a comment area that's just a turd-magnet.

By: Brant

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