News: Combat simulation prepares CORIVFOR sailors for deployment
Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Kay Savarese
PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Thirteen Coastal Riverine Group (CORIVGRU) 2 sailors completed training with the use of a combat simulator during an Embarked Security Combat Skills (ESCS) course in Portsmouth, Va., Nov. 16.
Embarked security teams board high-value assets to provide force protection to noncombatant Military Sealift Command (MCS) vessels and contracted ships around the world, ensuring safe passage for the ships and crews, specifically within the 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility.
“We teach them all the basic tools and fundamentals they need to conduct embarked security team missions,” said Master-at-Arms 1st Class Beverly Henson, ESCS instructor and coordinator. “While deployed, these teams protect ships that are contracted by the Navy but don’t have the weapons to defend themselves efficiently through dangerous areas.”
The training course utilizes the Laser Shoot Littoral Combat Simulator, developed by Laser Shot and Virtual Battle Space 2, to help prepare the students for the challenges of their upcoming deployment to Bahrain by exposing them to scenarios they may encounter.
“This training is kind of a crash course to prepare us for deployment,” said Master-at-Arms Seaman Lance Shults, a student attending the course. “I have never done anything like this before. It’s all brand new to me. We’re getting all the training we can here, so we’re prepared for when we get to Bahrain.”
The simulator enhances the classroom portion of the course, bringing a sense of realism to training scenarios by using a central platform surrounded by screens. An instructor controls a computer, which projects an image of the open ocean onto the screens as well as an array of variables – ships, small watercraft, floating objects, etc., the students may encounter while on deployment. The central platform serves as the vessel from which the students operate, utilizing a system of hydraulics to simulate the movements of an actual boat.
“Before the simulator, we spent a lot of time in the classroom,” said Shults. “You can read power points all day, but it’s totally different when you get up on that platform and you’re doing the training hands-on. I learn so much more by using my hands and actually seeing the environment on the screens with the computers.”
This is the second evolution of students to attend the four-week-long course in Portsmouth since the formation of Coastal Riverine Force (CORIVFOR) on June 1.
“With the merger between Maritime Expeditionary Security and Riverines, we took the defensive and offensive sides and mixed them together,” said Henson. “The expeditionary security community used to be completely defensive, while the Riverines were primarily offensive. When the two forces combined to form Coastal Riverine Force, the dynamic changed a bit.
“Prior to the merger, this training was conducted on the West Coast,” said Henson. “So far, the two classes we’ve had come through the course on the East Coast have done really well. We throw a vast amount of information at them in a short period of time, and they put in fairly long days in order to be able to retain it all and become a well-rounded Sailor before beginning their mission.”
Following the simulator portion of the course, the students will continue their training using a stationary training vessel and actual boats in the open water, employing the skills they have learned thus far.
“They’re throwing every situation they can at us, so it’s been kind of a challenge—but it’s new; it’s fresh; it’s fun,” said Shults. “It’s highly beneficial because if I’m in a situation overseas, I will have this experience to look back on and I will be more prepared since I have actually practiced how to react in that situation.”
Upon graduation from the course, the students will deploy to Bahrain where they will receive follow-on training and perform their mission as an embarked security team.
CORIVFOR performs core maritime expeditionary security missions in the green and brown waters, bridging the gap between traditional Navy blue water operations and land-based forces, providing port and harbor security for vital waterways and protection of high value assets and maritime infrastructure.