The Fort Polk Road Show

Realistic training for Iraq-bound units is in high demand these days. And despite the proliferation of high-fidelity simulations -- at Fort Polk's Army Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Irwin's Army National Training Center and the Marine Corps' Mojave Viper at Twentynine Palms -- there still isn't enough capacity to train up all of the approximately 20 combat brigades at a time that deploy to Iraq. road show.jpgSo the bigwigs at Fort Polk have come up with a plan to take JRTC on the road. The idea is to package up the basic elements of JRTC's Iraq sim, including pyrotechnics experts, combat-vet observer-controllers, an opposing force trained in insurgent tactics and some of the simulation gear (including the new-generation MILES II laser-tag) and deploy it to brigades' home stations, where the JRTC "road show" will take over some local training ranges and run a compressed, bare-bones pre-deployment exercise.It won't be cheap, considering that Fort Polk JRTC rotations cost around $10 million apiece and don't include the Road Show's transportation costs. But, as JRTC spokesman Maj. Eric Baus says, "What cost is too much" when it comes to preparing troops for Iraq?Right now the JRTC Road Show is just an idea. But with the military training community better resourced and more motivated than ever after three years of war, expect it to become a reality very soon.See my Flickr for JRTC pics. Read more at Military.com and The Washington Times. And check out my graphic novel WAR FIX.--David Axe

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