American armed forces convoys are often attacked on the roads of Iraq. Now, the Marines have a brand new tool to prepare troops for the dangers of Iraqi streets before they leave the US.
Before departing for service in Iraq, US Marines are training with a new combat simulator. The Lockheed Martin Company has created the Virtual Combat Convoy Trainer to prepare soldiers for the dangers they may soon face.
The company designed and built the $5 million simulator in less than 120 days. Four of the simulators have recently been delivered to Camp LeJeune, North Carolina.
Master Sergeant Harold Cook, U.S. Marine Corps, says the new simulator is a valuable training tool. "There are things I can do in a simulator that I can't do in a training environment. And that's a good thing. Anything that we can give these kids to surprise them or wake them up or even to just get them used to doing a certain thing. Yeah that's great. It's going to help them immensely," he says.
The simulator is used to replicate wartime scenarios. It forces the soldiers to quickly identify threats such as roadside bombs and ambushes. Above all, this device helps the Marines expect the unexpected.
Master Sergeant Cook explains, "When that explosion goes off on the side of your vehicle as you are going down the road, I mean that's the shock that you are going to get. And you want to try to at least get them to realize over here that it's going to come out of the clear blue."
More than 4,000 Marines have already been trained on the combat simulator. Forty percent of all casualties involving U.S. troops in Iraq occur during patrols by military convoys. The Marines anticipate that this new training will help reduce that statistic.