Drill Sergeants vs. Hollywood (VII) - A Master Sergeant at Ft Sill Sounds Off

August 23, 1999

Comment: #314

Discussion Thread:  #s 81, 237, 273, 308, 309, 310, 311, 312, 313

This thread refuses to die. The email below is from another noncom in the trenches who has to make his Army work in the REAL WORLD. He recognizes that simulators are useful for learning procedures but says they can not replicate field conditions. MSG QQQ's comments are consistent with Maj XXX' comments on the CCTT and CMDR YYY comments on simulation in general. Proponents of simulators sell their high cost on the promise that they will cut training budgets.

--------[Email from MSG QQQ, Ft Sill]--------

Hollywood already did a realistic combat simulation. It's called the Blair Witch. Four people go into the woods with a map and a compass and are hopelessly lost five minutes after getting there!

Now, if Hollyweird could simulate MY drill sergeants or the drill sergeants of today that I've seen, that'd really be something. There's more than one way to skin a cat and from what I've seen lately, Hollywood ain't there yet and Hollywood ain't even close.

Nice try, Hollywood, but keep on trying.

As for the simulators, they can't replicate actual field conditions but they are somewhat useful for driving certain aspects of the field experience such as the need for proper planning, commo and firing procedures, etc. It's kind of like the crawl, walk, run process. You can crawl and half walk with the simulators (half stepping?) but you ain't gonna RUN till you throw in the field maneuvers and practice them a time or two.

One area of simulation that's kind of interesting (and is being used NOW, as I understand it) is a values-based type of simulation. You put a trainee in front of the simulator, have the person make choices about whether to get along with someone or cuss them out and show them that getting along simulates cooperation later on in the process when someone's wounded, in the clutch, etc. The consequences of choice A and choice B are very quickly seen, and it provides a good lesson!

Whether it's cost effective or not, I don't know, but we're using what we have!

MSG QQQ, USA Fort Sill, Oklahoma

-------[end Email]---------

Chuck Spinney

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