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Posted: February 23, 2018 3:34 p.m.
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Armor crews build proficiency with simulations


Capt. Jordan Woodburn, commander, Co. B, 3-67 Armor, 2ABCT, 3rd ID, relays information to tank crews at the Close Combat Tactical Trainer tank simulator located on Fort Stewart’s Mission Training Complex Feb. 13. Through the use of the simulators, conditions on the battlefield can be replicated by employing all four members of the crew in the simulator prior to executing during live gunnery.

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Armor crewmen with the 3rd Combined Arms Battalion, 67th Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division conducted simulated training at Fort Stewart's Mission Training Complex, Feb. 13-14.

The training was performed using the Close Combat Tactical Trainer, which allows Soldiers to gain experience, confidence and tactical knowledge in a virtual realistic environment.

The CCTT can support unit training of ground troops at the battalion, platoon and company level, improving armor proficiency, combat effectiveness and is part of Spartan Brigade's conversion from an Infantry Brigade Combat Team to an Armored Brigade Combat Team.

"Crews loaded into M1 tank simulators - some for the first time in the vehicles, even if only simulated - to get an idea of what it takes to operate as a tank crew," said Capt. Jordan Woodburn, commander of Co. B, 3rd CAB. "This operation was designed to improve the armor crewmen fundamental skills before getting our tanks."

The gunner and tank commander used the advanced gunnery training simulator first to build their ability to hit targets as a team. Once completed, they incorporated the driver and loader for a complete tank crew in the CCTT.

"The advantage of using the simulated training versus sending the Soldiers straight to mechanized vehicles is it saves training resources," said Ken Thompson, the lead computer based trainer-instructor for the CCTT. "It saves on fuel and ammunition."

"The more the Soldiers train on the equipment, the more proficient they will become," Thompson said. "It's muscle memory."

Pfc. Ronald Green, a loader with 3rd CAB, said he appreciated the hands-on aspect of the training and has a better understanding of what it takes to handle the loader's station in certain situations. He looks forward to his experience in an actual tank and feels confident with the training the simulators provided.

Pfc. Samuel Infante with 3rd CAB said the simulators replicated the need for communication within the vehicle as well as the ability to do so during a mission. He said the simulators helped his platoon practice, which will ultimately help them become proficient before executing live fire at gunnery.

"Through the use of the simulators, we're able to replicate the conditions on the battlefield by employing all four members of the crew to achieve what they will attempt to in an actual scenario or exercise," Woodburn said.

The Soldiers focused on three things concerning situational awareness throughout the training: their location on the battlefield, where they are in relation to the other tanks in the platoon and the location of the enemy.

The company built on those fundamental tasks of an armor crewman without actually having the tanks present, Woodburn said.

"It is all part of the progression toward gunnery and the progression toward being an effective armored brigade combat team," he added.

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