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Training soldiers with "America's Army".


WHO says the Army can't be fun and games?

Soldiers at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, are using the America's Army Game at the post's Battle Simulation Center to practice warrior tasks and battle drills.

They've been training on the software for three years, said Ates Bulent Sencalar, site manager for General Dynamics Information Technology. The Noncommissioned Officer Academy, 470th Military Intelligence Brigade, 228th Combat Support Hospital, and Reserve and National Guard units are among those undergoing the training.

The "America's Army" simulator helps familiarize students with troop-leading procedures and tactical maneuvers in urban environments, allowing them to better understand how their decisions affect the whole unit, said Sgt. 1st Class Reginald Powell, an instructor for the Army Medical Department NCOA.

Powell and some 140 Basic NCO-Course students recently trained on the "America's Army" simulator.

Through the video game, Soldiers get to practice what they've learned in the classroom. "'America's Army' gives them visual 'boots on the ground,'" said Sencalar.

The scenario begins with a squad of six to nine Soldiers in a simulated Iraqi village. Their mission is to conduct a dismounted patrol, clear buildings and secure the area of weapons left behind by insurgents.

In the game, as in the Army, the Soldiers' collective goal is to accomplish a mission as a team and adhere to the Army's core values. The software also gives Soldiers a chance to prepare for a follow-on field training exercise at nearby Camp Bullis.

"This is a great training method, because it gives us an idea of what to expect and what we need to improve on," said Sgt. Hilda Cabrera, a former BNCOC student.

"The students really enjoy the simulation, because it's like a game for them. At the same time, they know they must take the "game" seriously. "If they don't, and they're careless and perform improperly, a sniper, bomb or improvised explosive device could take them out," said Powell.

Olivia Mendoza works in the Fort Sam Houston Public Information Office.
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Author:Mendoza, Olivia
Publication:Soldiers Magazine
Date:Sep 1, 2008
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