S: Infantry Immersion Trainer
BC: 4705 Ruffin Road San Diego, C.A. 92123 Phone:858-244-0559 Fax: 858-715-5383 www.strategic-operations.com
FC: Infantry Immersion Trainer IIT Camp Pendleton
1: This book is dedicated to the Marine Rifleman and the Small Unit Leader for whom the Infantry Immersion Trainer was conceived, designed, and built. We, at Strategic Operations, are proud to have been a part of that effort. We look forward to our continued contribution to the operation of the IIT and serving the Marines who go in harm’s way. Semper Fidelis.
2: When the Commanding General of I Marine Expeditionary Force wanted to build an infantry simulator to do for the infantryman what aviation simulators do for the aviator, General James N. Mattis's vision quickly turned into reality at Camp Pendleton. "Seizing upon the immediately recognizable benefit of the training received at Hollywood’s Strategic Operations and adding to it his own understanding of the modern battlefield and his vision of the battlefields of the future, then-LtGen James N. Mattis, CG, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, and then as the CG, I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), assembled those officers he felt could best carry out his vision and told them to come up with:
3: . . . a gymnasium sized facility where we can inoculate riflemen, and in particular infantrymen, with the sights, sounds, smells and chaos of urban and close combat so that their first firefight is no worse than their last simulation.” This would be a place where there was a willing suspension of disbelief that made the Marines believe they were truly in combat. That realism and chaos (Clauswitzian “friction”) was a necessity to achieve the desired training end state, namely decision making under extreme stress and stress inoculation. Willingly borrowing a page from what Hollywood, in the form of Strategic Operations, had dubbed ‘hyper realistic training,’ they set about to do so." * | * Cols Christopher Bourne & Patrick O’Donogue, USMC (Ret) & the I MEF Training and Experimentation Group Staff, “The General and His Watch,” Marine Corps Gazette, December 2009, 32-34.
6: I MEF wanted the Infantry Immersion Trainer on base at Camp Pendleton as they prepared for their current deployment to Iraq. When the former tomato packing plant in San Mateo became available, it was an ideal location for an indoor infantry training simulator. Strategic Operations designed and built the Middle Eastern Village inside the 32,000 square foot “tomato plant” based on guidance from I MEF and the Office of Naval Research team. The IIT became operational in November 2007.
10: Strategic Operations converted the IIT from a pseudo-Iraqi city block into an Afghanistan village (above, and on next pages) in March 2010 — just as troops from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force that took command in Helmand province in April 2010 might encounter.
11: Adding set decoration, props, signage, and faux items like crops and animals brings the environment to life. In addition to the IIT, the Marine Corps awarded Strategic Operations a long term contract to add “atmospherics” to all its MOUT facilities worldwide.
17: As a teaching tool, Strategic Operations makes vendor signs with three elements: as written in the local dialect, in English, and the phonetic pronunciation.
20: Role players who know the language, culture, and customs, help to add the human element to the environmental sights, sounds, and smells of the Afghan village.
24: Marines interact with Afghan role players, and sometimes encounter a full range of battlefield effects, from AK-47 fire to IEDs and RPGs.
26: Special Effects Small Arms Marking System (SESAMS), computer-generated avatars, and other technologies combine with real sets and objects in a mixed reality that allows the Marines to go through the training scenario wearing their standard combat gear.
28: The expansion of the IIT (Phase 2) onto the acreage outside the tomato processing building was officially completed on 2 November 2010. The Marine Corps selected Strategic Operations to add atmospherics inside and outside of the dozens of structures that replicate a Southwest Asian village.
52: After the ribbon cutting ceremony on November 16, 2010, the Marines began training that afternoon.
54: An RPG flies over the heads of the Marines’ mounted patrol.
55: RPGs explode next to the Humvee.
61: ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS All of us at Strategic Operations are grateful to the many military and civilian members of the team responsible for the Infantry Immersion Trainer with whom we have worked. We would especially like to thank: General James N. Mattis USMC Colonel D.A. Smith USMC Tom Buscemi (USMC, Ret.) Dave Olesky (USMC, Ret.) Pete Mueller, Office of Naval Research