Expo highlights training capabilities
Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan -- Marines and sailors with III Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Corps Installations Pacific learned about various training devices available to them on Okinawa during the III MEF combat camera training device expo April 18 at Camp Hansen.
The annual expo allows service members a rare opportunity to see how the Marine Corps is keeping pace with an ever-changing world, and ever-changing adversaries.
“The purpose of the expo is to inform operational units about training opportunities available to them,” said Herbert Gray, the director of the combat camera center, Marine Corps Installations Pacific.
In a technologically advanced world, service members have tools at their disposal designed to allow them to train while providing the most realistic sense of a combat situation.
“Our company operates a six-vehicle convoy simulator on Camp Hansen, allowing units to gain experience in simulated combat convoys,” said Steve Sapien, a site supervisor with Tatilek Training Services Incorporated. “We can simulate nearly any combat scenario, which allows service members to gain a sense of what combat feels like.”
The development of these virtual trainers provides the Marine Corps with a safer and more cost effective capability to train America’s 911 force in readiness.
“Training has vastly improved, which allows Marines to train smarter and harder,” said Chief Warrant Officer Keith E. Turner, the assistant division ordnance officer, material readiness branch, G-4, supply and logistics, 3rd Marine Division, III MEF. “The simulators are the eye-opener for me. When I was coming up through the ranks, we didn’t have the tools available now.”
The simulator arena provides an environment where Marines must work together in maintaining combat readiness, according to Sapien.
“We can simulate anything the units want, including medical evacuations, close-air support or call-for-fire,” said Sapien.
Later in the day, service members had a chance to tour and experience some simulators on Camp Hansen, according to Gray.
Although simulators have advantages, training on live-fire ranges is still essential for Marines, according to Staff Sgt. Damien J. Pearson, an infantry unit leader and operations chief for range control, Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler.
“Marines do not always understand what it is that we can provide,” said Pearson. “Marines are always going to need to perform live-fire training, and we provide various venues where Marines can fire multiple weapons systems.”
In addition to displaying newly developed training tools, contractors were also available and offered ways to preserve current training assets, which is equally as important as acquiring new equipment.
“As a part of my job, I deal with acquiring what units need,” said Turner. “One thing that the artillery Marines needed was better covers to allow for less corrosion and longer life for their weapons. The expo allowed various civilian companies to come and display their covers.”
With all of the advancements in technology, continued development of weapons systems and areas in which to employ those systems, Marines have the tools to forge a safer path to the future for America and all of her allies.
For more information about a tactical training device or simulator, call 623-2610.