March 6, 2015

Tank gunnery simulator: getting back to basics

Story and photos by Sgt. David Beckstrom, Public Affairs
11th Armored Cavalry Regiment
Larry Suino, the site lead instructor with the Tank Armament Command here, instructs Soldiers participating in the Senior Instructor Operator Course how to use the mainframe computer for the Advanced Gunnery Training Simulator here, Feb. 11.

Soldiers of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment participated in the Senior Instructor Trainer Course at the Advanced Gunnery Training Simulator here, Feb. 9-13.,

The AGTS system is a cost effective way to master the basic tank gunnery skills prior to attending a live fire range. The 11th ACR can utilize this system to become better opponents for rotational training units, which travel here to train at the National Training Center.

“We are in the training area two weeks out of each month,” said Staff Sgt. Cody D. Owens, assistant S-3 non-commissioned officer for the 11th ACR. “We might not get the chance to shoot M1A1 Bradley’ s as much but [by] staying proficient in these perishable skills we are able to perform better as a team in the [training area].”

As threats to the nation continue to evolve and shape the way the military fights, the Army refocused to decisive action rotations at the NTC. These rotations enable the units to train against a near-peer threat, which means training against similar weaponry and capabilities. These training situations are different from the Security Force Assistance Team rotations performed during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, which focused on helping the host nation security force establish peace throughout their country.

“Being able to master the basics of tank gunnery with the AGTS system, the regiment will be able to train the rest of the Army that much better,” said Sgt 1st Class Jared M. Cox, 1st Squadron, 11th ACR’s master gunner. “The better we are at being the Army’s opposing force, the better the rotational unit will be after fighting against us. This will mean that the units will be better prepared for any future conflicts they may encounter.”

This system can enable units to practice the skills needed for tank gunnery, but due to recent enemies the United States faces, some might not consider it a priority to utilize. Since the current enemies are dismounted insurgents, some may say the training needs to be focused on engaging them on the battlefield.

“The AGTS system has been under-utilized in the past because of the type of enemy we have been facing,” said Larry Suino, the site lead instructor with the Tank Armament Command here. “As the Army continues to adapt their fighting style, the AGTS will enable units to get ready to face conventional forces faster.”

The military actively trains for uncertain futures where the next enemy hides in the shadows or is knocking on the front door. Utilizing all of the training resources at hand, the Army will be able to continue to protect the U.S. by having an adaptable force.

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