Wendell Ford offers effective training options

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Story and photo by Spc. Daniel Federico and Spc. Kenneth Bryant, 75th Troop Command Unit Public Affairs and Historian Representatives

Kentucky Guardsman Spc. Kenneth Bryant, 149th Vertical Company, shoots a simulated 50 caliber machine gun on the Virtual Convoy Operations Trainer at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky.

GREENVILLE, Ky. — Soldiers training for deployment at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center receive real-world convoy training thanks to the cutting-edge technology of the Virtual Convoy Operations Trainer.

The VCOT provides Soldiers with a simulated vehicle convoy operations and battle experience based off of real-world encounters from knowledge brought back from Veterans of the current Global War on Terror.

“I like to have the lower enlisted personnel sit as the convoy commander in the simulation,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua Bryant, VCOT operator.

“This presents the perfect opportunity for them to learn how to respond, and also presents them with more understanding and respect of a proper op order and planned route,” he said.

Travel to and from areas in theater is something Soldiers must prepare for prior to deployment. The VCOT was introduced to WHFRTC at the end of 2005 to provide that training. Over the years, it received multiple upgrades to keep it up-to-date with simulated threats that are current and as realistic as possible for Soldiers

According to Bryant, IEDs, enemy mortar fire, rocket-propelled grenades and other small arms fire was added to ensure Soldiers can face the challenge.  Plans are in the works for more upgrades in the very near future.

“The VCOT will be sent to Florida near the end of July this year to go through more updating of the system,” Staff Sgt. Sandy Austin, of the Training Site Command said.

Upgrades will include the Blue Force Tracker which will help soldiers learn to work with equipment they will encounter once deployed to improve their proficiency with them. Austin said he believes they will add simulations accommodating Afghanistan scenery and possible threats faced in that specific region.

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