2nd Supply Battalion trains for the future

2nd Supply Battalion trains for the future
2nd Supply Battalion trains for the future

Second Lt. Evan C. Malone, the watch officer for 2nd Supply Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group's combat operations center training exercise aboard Camp Johnson, N.C., examines a map of his unit's area of operations Dec. 19, 2012. The unit incorporated computer simulators into the training, which allowed Malone and other Marines to gather real-time information for their command decisions in the COC. Photo by Cpl Paul Peterson

Warrant Officer Terence D. Bennett, a participant in 2nd Supply Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group's training exercise at Marine Air-Ground Task Force Integrated Systems Training Center aboard Camp Johnson, N.C., monitors his unit's area of operations during a simulation Dec. 19, 2012. Bennett monitored activities in his area of responsibility and helped coordinate the combat operations center's efforts to conduct missions during a variety of scenarios. Photo by Cpl Paul Peterson

Second Supply Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group broke new ground in the area of simulator training while preparing for its future logistics-support roles.

With the help of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force Integrated Systems Training Center, or MISTC, at Camp Johnson, N.C., the battalion used a convoy simulator to incorporate real-time feedback from Marines into the unit's combat operations center training Dec. 17 to 20.

Their efforts created a more dynamic command experience driven by human interaction.

"It gives us training on both ends," said 1stLt Marie A. Banks, a platoon commander with the battalion's General Support Motor Transport Company. "My Marines are getting practice in being on a convoy and knowing what reports to utilize if something comes up. On the other end, the Marines in the COC are getting practice receiving reports, tracing movements and plotting grid coordinates."

Personnel in the COC received information from the service members on the simulators, who reported everything from vehicle breakdowns and contact with the enemy to resupply needs.

The training normally relies on a series of scripted scenarios and reports given to the command element. Instructors still control the situations during the simulation, but the Marines create a new twist at each turn.

"It provides more real-world friction you are going to have when you have troops out there running real convoys," said 2ndLt Evan C. Malone, the watch officer for the training COC. "We have people in here who have never worked on a lot of these systems – you have people to people, rather than people and a computer."

The new training allows units to test their entire command and control chain, noted Doug H. Eckendorf, the COC coordinator at MISTC. 

"It is not just a simulation," Eckendorf continued. "We try to put as many human elements into it as we can. The human has to understand what is being said and how it is being interpreted."

In addition, the Marines also learned how to maximize their flow of information with communication equipment built into the simulator.

"The digital systems allow us to disseminate information through a lot of different people in near real-time," said Eckendorf. "Decisions are made at a much faster rate. We increase our tempo. When you can increase tempo, you can use it just like a weapon."

It is the first step in a three-month training plan designed to prepare the battalion for upcoming operations and restructuring efforts which will reshape the unit for further logistical-support roles, noted LtCol Jesse A. Kemp, the battalion's commanding officer. 

The lessons learned from the pilot exercise will be incorporated into future MISTC training events.

 

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