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NEWS | Feb. 6, 2017

Camp Pendleton simulator prepares Soldiers for live fire ranges

By Cotton Puryear | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office

Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to the Virginia Beach-based Troop A, 2nd Squadron, 183rd Cavalry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team conducted familiarization training on multiple weapons systems Feb. 4, 2017, at Camp Pendleton in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in preparation for gunnery tables scheduled for annual training later this year. Part of the training included using one of Camp Pendleton’s virtual simulators that provides a cost-effective way for Soldiers to be better prepared when they fire live rounds.

Camp Pendleton is resourced with multiple virtual trainers that simulate individual weapons as well as crew served weapons systems, and Soldiers are able to use those virtual trainers to improve their skills, explained Sgt. 1st Class John Reed, a platoon sergeant in Troop A. Soldiers are also able to use a virtual indirect fire simulator to meet training requirements each year.

“It all comes together at annual training when we actually run the gunnery lanes, and we have met all prerequisites here at Camp Pendleton without having to go offsite to do it,” Reed said. “Because it is right here, we are able to take greater advantage of it. We are able to visit it more often and cycle Soldiers through during opportunity training. The more reputation, the more proficient you become, and it leads to greater readiness in the unit.”

Simulation training also has significant advantages during an era of constrained resources.

“Anytime you are getting quality training and not having to spend money on actual rounds or the fuel to go somewhere, it is a huge cost advantage,” Reed said.

While Camp Pendleton offers multiple simulators on weapons systems geared for improving individual proficiency, it also has capabilities that allow organizations to conduct staff simulation exercises. A recent addition to Camp Pendleton is it’s multi-purpose training facility that consists of two 70 feet by 120 feet steel framed tensioned fabric structures that occupy 1.5 acres. The climate-controlled facility includes two 180-feet square grids where military units can set up their tactical operations center equipment and conduct battalion, brigade and division-level command post exercises.

The facility has also been used as a bed-down space, physical training area during inclement weather and for conducting periodic health assessments with large numbers of personnel. It also provides a staging base for personnel, equipment and other materiel in the event of a natural or manmade emergency in the area.

Camp Pendleton is also constantly improving its field training facilities as well.

A multi-state effort to build a new airfield damage repair training site on Camp Pendleton culminated with a ribbon cutting ceremony Aug. 30, 2016. The site was constructed by Airmen of the Ohio National Guard’s 200th RED HORSE Squadron along with the Virginia Air National Guard’s 203rd RED HORSE Squadron and the Montana Air National Guard’s 219th RED HORSE Squadron, and it provides a location for Air Force civil engineers to train on tasks associated with airfield operations and damage repair.

“This new training site is the latest investment in our continuing effort to improve on the already impressive capabilities at Camp Pendleton,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. “This installation is a prime training destination not just for the Virginia National Guard, but for other active and reserve component military forces as well as public safety organizations.”

The training site measures 1,000 feet in length and is 150 feet wide, and it replaced an existing asphalt surface. The project placed 550 cubic yards of high strength concrete with more than 2,800 tons of asphalt and 6,000 tons of stone, and the asphalt from the old site will be recycled. It features special areas for creating a simulated crater for training on airfield repair operations and employment of a mobile aircraft arresting system.

Camp Pendleton is a state-owned, 328-acre installation which provides training facilities for National Guard units, as well as all other Department of Defense, active duty and reserve units as well as public safety organizations. It houses the Virginia Commonwealth ChalleNGe Youth Academy, the Virginia Air National Guard’s 203rd RED HORSE Squadron, the Virginia Army National Guard’s 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and Troop A and Troop C, 2nd Battalion, 183rd Cavalry Regiment.

The post features a multi-purpose training facility, administrative buildings, conference facilities, barracks, classrooms, dining facilities, a live-fire qualification range and nine different virtual trainers as well as a chapel, fitness center, distance learning center, wooded training areas, helipad, airfield damage repair site, land navigation course, airfield damage repair training site, beach and amphibious landing site.

Read more about Camp Pendleton at

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