Combat Camera provides picture of future battles
June 19, 2007
Anytime Marines need training on Okinawa, the Marine Combat Camera Center says it will figure out how to get it to them.
The center has come a long way from being “a couple of Marines with cameras and, if they’re lucky, some audio-visual equipment,” said Col. Donald C. Wayman during the center’s first ground-training aid expo Friday on Camp Foster.
Combat Camera’s responsibilities have evolved over the years to encompass ground training aids, he said.
Herb Gray, the center’s director, said, “we’re the hub, the middle guy” to get training to the Marines.
It can be difficult to do live training on Okinawa due to range schedules and training restrictions to limit the effect on local communities.
But that’s where the center and its range of simulators can take up the slack, Wayman said.
Simulations won’t replace live training, but it can significantly augment it and better prepare Marines for combat, said Herb Gray, the center’s director.
The simulators “are designed to give you some muscle memory before you get out there” in the real world, he said.
The simulated environments allow Marines to make mistakes without wasting fuel, rounds or money — or endangering lives, he said.
At the expo, Marines tried out first-person shooter games in a convoy scenario and indoor marksmanship trainers. A demonstration highlighted an improvised explosive device trainer that used sound effects and smoke simulations.
The center has two locations, one at Camp Foster and the other at Camp Hansen.
On the screen and in the field¶ Training simulators available at Marine Combat Camera Centers:
¶ Virtual Battlefield System: A shooter computer simulation in which participants work together on a network of computers. Trainers can add whatever scenario or elements a unit’s mission requires, said Richard Evans, a virtual-training leader at Camp Hansen.
¶ Special Effects Small Arms Marking System: A modification kit installed on weapons to convert them from live rounds to training paint rounds. Steve Gordon, a site manager at the center, said it provides instant feedback in force-on-force scenarios.
¶ Tactical Language and Culture Training System: A voice-activated training system based on 3-D video games. The simulation teaches Arabic language and culture and requires Marines to interact with the program, Evans said. “If you don’t speak the language correctly, then [people in the program] won’t respond to you.”
¶ Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer: A classroom trainer that uses modified small arms and crew weapons to interact with a scenario projected onto a screen. It shows where simulated rounds hit and teaches decision-making skills in fast-paced scenarios, said John Bivis, with the Hansen-based center. The scenarios help participants quickly identify when they should and shouldn’t fire, he said.
— Cindy Fisher