FORT KNOX, Ky. - Third Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) soldiers practiced forward operating base defense using the Dismounted Soldier Training System, or DSTS at the Training Support Center at Fort Knox, Jan. 22-24.
Soldiers had suits that electronically tracked their bodies’ motions, as well as the movement and aim of their weapons, explained DSTS Simulation Trainer, Kevin Hoeckendorf.
“DSTS has a series of sensors on the arms and legs that allow an avatar to interact with software in a simulated training environment.”
Pfc. Alex Toscanini, 3rd ESC Ammunition Stock Control, compared the training favorably to video games.
“It’s different than a video game. I feel like I’m controlling the avatar more, because it’s my body moving, instead of pushing a button. It’s motion control instead of joystick control.”
Hoeckendorf also explained how training with DSTS can be much more accessible than field training.
“Instead of having to reserve a training area, draw weapons, ammunition and so on, DSTS reduces that logistical nightmare. You can come here, get the training you want, (such as) dismounted patrols, forward operating base defense, or react to indirect fire. We can do those things in a virtual world, in lieu of actual field training.”
Third ESC Force Protection NCO Sgt. 1st Class Darrell Bell agreed.
"This is a good start. Nothing beats actually being out there, and getting that type of training, but this is good training before you actually go out and work together as a team. I wouldn't say this could replace that type of training, but it's a nice supplement to the real thing."