Photo Information

A Marine from Marine Special Operations Advisor Group, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command, tallies simulated casualties and prisoners of war during MSOAG Exercise 1-08 here April 24. The exercise gave the Marines an opportunity to conduct battalion-level attacks without expending ammunition or risking injuries.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Katie Mathison

MSOAG Marines receive training at II MEF Simulation Center

25 Apr 2008 | Lance Cpl. Katie Mathison

A large-scale attack requires a great deal of coordination starting with the fire team and ending with the battalion’s directive as a whole. Marine noncommissioned officers are often responsible for leading the squads and platoons, but practicing battalion-level operations is expensive and requires a large amount of manpower and planning.

Fortunately for today’s Marines, the II Marine Expeditionary Force Simulation Center allows Marines to receive the training without any risk and at a much lower cost.

The II MEF Simulation Center offers Marines the opportunity to lead battalion-sized operations.

“(The simulation) is risk gone wild,” said Glen Spradling, a military analyst at the simulation center. “Marines can practice operations in here and get a feel of what it is like using less than 40 people to represent thousands.”

The simulation center not only requires considerably less manpower, but is also a very inexpensive training option.

“It is a very cost effective way to practice,” Spradling said. “You get all of your tactics, techniques and procedures without using any gas to get out to the field or expending a single bullet.”

The most recent exercise simulation was run for Marines with the Marine Special Operations Advisor Group, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command. The simulation, MSOAG Exercise 1-08, familiarized several noncommissioned officers with combat leadership.

A sergeant from MSOAG said he believed the exercise was a good opportunity to feel what it is like to make decisions while receiving fire. He added it was interesting to see the big picture of how one decision can really affect the outcome of a battle.

The simulation is a very practical tool, but will never replace field operations, Spradling said.

“We want them to practice their training, so they know and are comfortable performing the procedures and adapting to new situations,” Spradling said. “We use the ‘crawl, walk, run’ method of instruction. They crawl in the classroom, walk in the simulation, and run in the field.”