CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo, May 30, 2017 — The light is dim. The tension is so thick someone could cut it with a knife. The rattling sound of firing comes from out of the darkness. The soldier grips a M2 .50-caliber machine gun.

Locked and loaded, the soldier begins to scan the … screen?

Walking into the Reconfigurable Vehicle Tactical Trailer is like walking into a giant three-dimensional gaming system. The RVTT is made up of a series of trailers that house full-size Humvees. On the Humvee is mounted a M2 .50-caliber machine gun, or a M249 squad automatic weapon. The trailer walls are lined with large screens that display a simulated video scenario.

Training Available Anywhere

Soldiers are virtually transported to any location ranging from missions in Afghanistan, to basic range target practice at any military installation. The video screens that surround the soldiers display terrain, roads, and even civilians walking in the villages. The soldiers scan the screens at 360 degrees for enemy activity while they talk on the radios to other members of their platoon and “drive” the Humvee on the roads. The Military Police detachment assigned to Multinational Battle Group-East took full advantage of the opportunity to utilize the first-ever RVTT deployed to Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, from Grafenwoehr, Germany.

“Our primary mission in Kosovo is law enforcement,” said Army Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Hatchell, platoon sergeant of the MP detachment assigned to MNBG-East. “Our soldiers who came together 90 and 120 days prior to our deployment to Kosovo did not train on our tactical mission set that we would normally conduct in Afghanistan or Iraq. By conducting the RVTT it assists in hitting those objective measures of training and coming up with those proper tactics, techniques, and procedures.”

Variety of Training

The primary mission of the RVTT when it was fielded in October of 2009 was for soldiers to practice convoy operations to prepare them for missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Today, with upgrades to the systems, units can use the RVTT for missions at home station such as gunnery ranges and driver training, explained Bruner Caudill, the project manager for the RVTT system. This system enables units to continue to train even when deployed environment such as Camp Bondsteel, where there’re a limited amount of tactical training resources.

“It saves the units a lot of time and money on resources,” Caudill said.Using the RVTT also mitigates the risk of injury, Caudill said.

“I have a lot of junior soldiers in my platoon that have not deployed to a combat environment,” said Army 2nd Lt. Shamara Nichols, platoon leader of the MP detachment. “This was a good first step for them to do this simulation where our lives are not in danger, in order to get those good tactics, techniques, and procedures in and work on our convoy operations.”

The Army has come a long way, Caudill explained. He recalled a time when he was a 1st Sgt. in the U.S. Army and had to paint the Hohenfels, Germany terrain on his unit’s parking lot in order to rehearse battle drills with this company.

“We have such a great asset, such as the RVTT, for our troops to train with, it’s just incredible how far the military has come,” Caudill said.