Veterans say new Camp Shelby training facility made them feel they were back in combat

Camp Shelby officials unveiled a $3 million virtual reality training facility that will expose soldiers to scenarios they may face during combat.

Military officials say the biggest danger facing soldiers in combat are improvised explosive devices, many of which are buried or concealed on or in roadways.

Accurately replicating the conditions soldiers will encounter in the real world is expensive and time-intensive, VCTS training developer Sgt. 1st Class Jawn Downing said.

“With the type of training we have to do, it’s nearly impossible to find an area large enough and safe enough to do this training,” he said. “With the ways wars are changing we’re trying to keep up with the times.”

The system is made up of four semi trailers with consoles replicating the interior of vehicles used in the detection of IEDs. Soldiers communicate via radio headsets and operate the vehicles just as they would in-country.

Downing said Afghanistan and Iraq veterans who have used the system say the realism is so high, they said they feel as if they are back in combat. Other than making the training realistic, another benefit is soldiers can react in the VCTS just as they would in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Read more about the new training facility at Camp Shelby from the Hattiesburg American.

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