High-tech training helping to save Marines: Convoy simulator features real-world scenarios

Sitting in the gunner's turret of a Humvee, Cpl. Seth Baker has a 360-degree panorama of Afghanistan, except he is thousands of miles away in a room at Camp Pendleton.

In the convoy simulator, anything and everything that can happen on a convoy mission is literally a mouse click away.  

"What we try to simulate are actual scenarios that Marines have experienced," said Sgt. Matthew Hart, a supervisor at the simulator complex.

The trainer was built in 2008 but has been constantly updated as Marines returned home.

"They've come back and said this is what actually happened, so it helps us upgrade the system and make it better," Hart said.

It can be set up to be as simple as driving from point A to point B or as kinetic as an all-out assault.  

More than 100 different elements can be programmed into different scenarios – everything from animals near the road to calling in support helicopters.

As the security transition to the Afghans takes place next year, the role of future deployments will be different, but preparation will remain.

"Even if you are just going two miles down the road, everyone needs to be ready," said transport driver Cpl. Ian Senn.


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