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CMC touts need for immersion training

Jun. 19, 2011 - 09:52AM   |   Last Updated: Jun. 19, 2011 - 09:52AM  |  
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Infantry Marines confront avatars while clearing a room inside the Infantry Immersion Trainer at Camp Pendleton, Calif. The commandant wants more Marines to go through the simulator.
Infantry Marines confront avatars while clearing a room inside the Infantry Immersion Trainer at Camp Pendleton, Calif. The commandant wants more Marines to go through the simulator. (Marine Corps)
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The Corps' Infantry Immersion Trainer, a three-dimensional simulator that mimics the sights, sounds and smells of modern combat, could become a mandatory stop for more Marines as part of the commandant's push to make his troops more resilient to stress.

"I think our logistics, our combat engineers ... the aviation guys and gals need to go through it," Gen. Jim Amos told Marine Corps Times during a recent interview at the Pentagon. "If you can put people in that kind of environment, and it begins to harden them, it steels them for what the future holds."

Infantrymen already go through the simulator at Camp Pendleton, Calif., created inside a 30,000-square-foot former tomato packing factory. Another IIT is being developed for grunts at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and is scheduled to open later this year.

Amos likes the idea of sending all Marines, regardless of their military occupational specialty, to the IIT so they can experience the pressures of real combat in a foreign environment — even if they may never go on a foot patrol in the war zone.

Using high-resolution imagery, movable props and reconfigurable rooms and buildings, the IIT forces Marines to make tough decisions in the middle of a simulated crisis. They experience Hollywood-type effects, including pyrotechnics, avatars and interactive holograms designed to prompt a reaction.

It has proved to be effective preparation for the real thing, Amos said.

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