News: Senator, Medal of Honor recipient cuts ribbon at new MCB Hawaii training facility
Story by Cpl. Reece Lodder
Since World War II, the United States military has changed. Technology has advanced, fighting styles have evolved, and many service members from “The Greatest Generation” have passed on.
A witness to these changes was highly decorated, former Army officer and U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, who visited Marine Corps Base Hawaii Nov. 5, 2010, to unveil another technological advancement — the base’s new Supporting Arms Virtual Trainer.
Inouye joined Lt. Gen. Duane Thiessen, commander, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, to cut the ribbon at the training facility’s opening ceremony near Landing Zone Boondocker. MCB Hawaii is the sixth Marine Corps installation to receive the trainer.
According to the Marine Corps Systems Command, the SAVT will be used to train joint terminal attack controllers, forward air controllers, and forward observers in the placement of tactical ordnance for close air support, naval surface fires and surface fires.
“Being a former forward air controller, the SAVT is critical to training our joint terminal attack controllers and forward air controllers, and practicing joint close air support tactics, techniques and procedures,” said Lt. Col. Michael Antonio, director, Operations and Training, MCB Hawaii.
At the unveiling, high-resolution projectors created a 240-degree horizontal and 60-degree vertical field-of-view image on the trainer’s 15-foot-tall wraparound screen, enabling controllers on the ground a realistic view for mortar, artillery and air strike scenarios.
“The trainer teaches the fundamentals in a virtual environment that has never been available before,” said Antonio, of Coral Springs, Fla. “It provides Marines the realism prior to executing live fire training evolutions.”
Inouye and other observers watched as a five-man fire support team from 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, received and began preparing for their mission. Their training station was set up in front of the screen, including a laser range finder, infrared pointer, global positioning system locator and laser target designator.
Amidst the crowd, an operator and instructor initiated, monitored and controlled the scenario, as the team worked their way through an evolution that included artillery and air strikes.
Col. James Bierman, commanding officer, 3rd Marine Regiment, explained to Inouye that the regiment’s deploying Marines will receive further live fire training during predeployment training at Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, and Enhanced Mojave Viper at Twentynine Palms, Calif., in addition to using the SAVT.
The fire support team completed their scenario and stood to face the crowd. Inouye marveled at the trainer, the Marines’ gear, and asked questions about 2/3’s upcoming deployment. He didn’t leave without thanking the Marines for their service and sacrifices.
“For the way you’ve stepped forward, into harm’s way for us, I cannot thank you enough,” Inouye said.
Before leaving, Inouye also visited the Officer’s Club here to speak to Marine and Navy officers. The former Army captain, a member of the famed 442nd Regimental Combat Team, spoke about World War II, and how his experiences differed from those serving overseas today.
“Your wars are much different than World War II,” Inouye said. “And in a sense, World War II was a much easier war. We had one deployment. We left home and we got back when the war was over.”
During a battle against German soldiers in Colle Musatello, Italy, on Apr. 21, 1945, Inouye was shot in the stomach and received shrapnel wounds that eventually led to the amputation of his right arm. Nonetheless, he fought through his pain and continued to lead his men in defeating the heavily fortified German position.
For his heroic actions, Inouye received the Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star Medal and numerous Purple Heart Medals. In June 2000, Inouye’s Distinguished Service Cross was upgraded to the Medal of Honor and presented to him by then-President Bill Clinton.
Amidst unwavering bravery, his respect and gratitude toward his fellow brothers-in-arms outweighed his personal accomplishments.
“I share my medal with all the men of my platoon,” Inouye said. “They’re all good men.”
This work, Senator, Medal of Honor recipient cuts ribbon at new MCB Hawaii training facility, by Sgt Reece Lodder, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.