MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --
Virtual gaming has been improving drastically over the years, and the Marine Corps is using the same technology to help train Marines.
The Virtual Battle Simulation 2 is the Combat Center’s newest addition to its list of videogame-like trainers, joining the Supporting Arms Virtual Training and the Combined Arms Command and Control Tactical Upgrade System.
“VBS 2 is a 3-D simulation that you play from a first-person perspective,” said Maj. Ben Brown, a simulation officer with Operations and Training. “VBS 2 allows you to take [convoys, patrols, tanks and any other unit] and call their respective supporting fixed, rotary or indirect fire agencies and see it on the battlefield.”
With the new VBS 2, the younger Marines who grew up playing video games should be able to grasp the controls quickly and be able to focus more on the training, said William Kelly, a Deployed Virtual Training analyst with Operations and Training.
“We have taken a first-person shooter videogame and modified it for the Marine Corps, and through programming we are able to network [multiple systems] together,” said Kelly. “[It] puts Marines in a 3-D environment and trains them using the same vehicles and procedures to accomplish their training objectives.”
The difference between the VBS 1 and VBS 2 is comparable to the difference between playing a two player Nintendo 64 game and playing a multi-player, multi-console, Shoot-‘em-up game on Xbox Live.
The VBS 2 is able to perform the same training as the more widely known SAVT, but Brown emphasized that it is not a replacement for it.
“SAVT is definitely a good environment for training facts,” Brown said. “What we were looking for is an environment where we could have multiple fire support teams train at a time.”
Also like the SAVT, the VBS 2 is able to lay the whole battlefield out before the students as they call in for support, thanks to three big-screen TVs.
“The big advantage to having three big screens comes when you are calling in for air,” Brown said. “[Students can] look around to make sure it is not going to hit anything that’s it’s not supposed to, and the air space is clear.”
Another advantage the VBS 2 has is that Marines can learn more than just their Fire Support Team drills in the scenarios.
“You can have a convoy moving along and something happened that makes them want to engage their FiST,” Brown said. “They can do the FiST drill, then go back to their convoy operations.”
One of the best aspects about these trainers is they are open to everyone, infantry or not. All a unit has to do is call to schedule a date.
For more information on the VBS 2 and other simulation training available aboard the Combat Center or how to schedule unit training, contact Brown at 830-8439.