226: The New Basic Training

The New Basic Training

Thanks to movies and videogames, today's military recruits have more exposure to combat than those of any period in history. But when soldiers take unnecessary risks in the name of playing the hero, this exposure becomes a liability. Shawn Williams investigates how entertainment media's glorification of war may affect modern soldiers.

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All the way throught that article i couldnt help think of my friend Shaun. He has always been a huge gamer and a massive fan of FPS. Was always on Cod4 and one day he just randomly decided he wanted to go into the army. I asked him why and he said that he thinks he has gained some knowlage of war tataics and weapons from games and he would like to experience it first hand. Hes an addrenaline junky too. He also quoted FPS_Doug from PP. "Some times i think about joining the army but irl theres no Respawn points!"

I must say, after years of playing Milatary themed games, i do now know alot of names of weapons, ranks and vechicals :|

My 6 year-old cousin has seen various gory war movies and I think he's a bit more immune to being scared by it. I also think the recruits will be surprised when they realize they don't have regenerating health... so they should use the Halo players as cannon-fodder...

624:
My 6 year-old cousin has seen various gory war movies and I think he's a bit more immune to being scared by it. I also think the recruits will be surprised when they realize they don't have regenerating health... so they should use the Halo players as cannon-fodder...

Along with the COD players who think they'll be mowing down hundreds of people in a minute. And the Gears of War players who'll rush in using their own ghetto chainsaw bayonets.

Its all fun and games until somebody gets hurt, or at least, thats what my father used to tell me. And pretty much every other parent has said at some point.

When thrown into a real life combat situation, I don't think that any amount of simulated combat is going to let you get any real upper hand. When bullets start flying, everyone is susceptible to the same reactions of panic, anxiousness, restlessness, and survival. I find this article interesting though, because its partially true. Gamers today think they know a lot about what goes on in a real battlefield, but lets be honest, there is no substitute for actual combat experience.

I'd personally say the closest you'll ever get to a true combat experience at this point in time, is paintball. Although, I have read about the virtual reality simulators in which soldiers wear a body suit that, when shot, they feel enough of an impact to actually sit them down.

Mr.Pandah:
Its all fun and games until somebody gets hurt, or at least, thats what my father used to tell me. And pretty much every other parent has said at some point.

When thrown into a real life combat situation, I don't think that any amount of simulated combat is going to let you get any real upper hand. When bullets start flying, everyone is susceptible to the same reactions of panic, anxiousness, restlessness, and survival. I find this article interesting though, because its partially true. Gamers today think they know a lot about what goes on in a real battlefield, but lets be honest, there is no substitute for actual combat experience.

I'd personally say the closest you'll ever get to a true combat experience at this point in time, is paintball. Although, I have read about the virtual reality simulators in which soldiers wear a body suit that, when shot, they feel enough of an impact to actually sit them down.

Agreed, paintball and airsoft I think would be the closest you can get to a modern combat experience in this day and age but I think video games do help make it easier to shoot at a real human being though at least from a military standpoint because of the modern gory war games you have out today (COD, Medal of Honor etc) They all have blood flying and people screaming when they die which does happen in modern day warzones. I think video games and VR sims can help make it easier for a soldier to kill but you would need something like paintball or airsoft to help teach modern day military tactics and team work and other necessary skills needed in a modern day warzone.

well if you look at the studies conducted after world war 2 by the us military they found most soldiers didnt fire their weapons and those that did tended to fire them in the air rather than at the "enemy" as most humans have a natural aversion to taking a life which is where portraying targets as realistically in training as you can comes in.

irronically the best soldiers, the ones that can deal the best, tend to be the people who can section off their feelings from what they are doing, the people who would normally fit into the classification of sociopath or psychopath

no video games wont make most people go out and kill someone but what it does do is lower the threshold for that aversion to killing.

i cant remember the name of it now but there was a bbc doc where the filmaker looked into what it takes to kill someone. fascinating to say the least but disturbing for the point it raised.. you train people to kill without hesitation but they still have to cope with the memory and experience of taking someones life for the rest of their life.

There are reports of Taliban attackers firing at US Army and Marine forces at their bases, where several of the members would aim near enough to make it look like they were attacking, but not near enough to hit anyone. Most of the shots from the Army and Marines that hit were non-lethal.

nikki191:
irronically the best soldiers, the ones that can deal the best, tend to be the people who can section off their feelings from what they are doing, the people who would normally fit into the classification of sociopath or psychopath

actually, a psychopath or sociopath has no need to section off their feelings from what they are doing - they have no feelings of empathy whatsoever. Not to say no supposed hero soldiers could actually be psychopaths (although I'd imagine the army would have the most refined psychological tests, like, ever) but you're confusing things. I'd say no soldier who has ever suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychopath or sociopath.

On topic... Yeah, I'd imagine people are much more comfortable with the whole 'killing' thing when they've been doing it make believe on the couches all their lives. But I think it'll come a time when they'll realize that what they've been doing is taking lives and they might not take to it kindly.

The most interesting thing to me in the article is how it says soldiers nowadays are more tech-savvy and can easily understand more complex concepts because they're used to stuff like cell phones and MP3 players. It's interesting because it holds true to first-world nations. I imagine the grunts that make up most of the army outside of the comfortably rich countries would be much more likely to have troubles figuring out how to reload their pistols.

(Something that came to mind right now... just yesterday I was playing the first Fallout, and I noticed that the icon for 'unload weapon', which shows a gun ejecting a cartridge, immediately and correctly informed me of what it did... despite the fact that it should have no meaning to one who has never even been close to a firearm, such as myself. Where am I going with this? Good question.)

America's Army 3 is surprisingly a very good game to learn how to play as a team, despite me living in Canada and there being some big glitches in the game that need to be fixed. You won't survive for long in the game if you don't communicate with you teammates and if you don't take the basic training, especially the medical training. I've had so many people that weren't able to rescue me because they didn't know what treatment they had to give me to heal me up. Take that damn medical training, people!

The exposure people get now a days to war certainly helps as stated. But it equally creates another group of fighting men that gets winnowed out over time due to false bravado like the classic soldier was lost due to lack of any exposure at all. It all comes down to being smart and quick on your feet.

Brains, Muscle Memory, Courage, Tactics. That's what makes a great soldier.

Intersing article. I agree with most of it.
Realism on videogames is reaching an impressive level. Not just graphics but also sound and AI. We are, like it or not, being "trained". I never held a gun before, yet I'm quite sure I know the proper way to grab it.

However, simulation and reality are very different worlds. No respawn points makes life unquestionably harder.

How about I just end this thread right here....
First a little background for you. I am typing away at my keyboard on my big comfy couch because I physically cannot get up with out my cane (which is slightly out of reach at the moment) because last month I had my second surgery on my hip. I broke my hip serving my third tour in Iraq with the 172nd (Stryker). I was an infantry(11b/18b) soldier for six years in the United States Army. I served in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
I have played video games my entire life, I am also quite fond of tabletop games. I have played pretty much every violent and vile game you can imagine. I joined the army in 2001, so we were just beginning to have the revolution of FPS's caused by Halo. Let me say this as plainly and briefly as I can manage. There is no experience in any entertainment medium that can prepare you or anyone for the experience of real combat. It does not train you to think tactically. It does nothing to warden you against the panic you will experience. It does not MAKE YOU WANT TO BE A HERO on the battlefield. Your friends who are always on COD know nothing more than any other civilian. A very sound argument could be made that said friend is in fact WORSE off.
I can not begin to tell you how many young privates get hurt or worse because they were what we called too "high speed". You are not, no matter how hard you wish it, being "trained".

Y'know what? Willy, my friend, I'm hanging with YOU for the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

Seriously, though. I'm a big military nerd. I'm in ROTC, I'm hoping to join the military as an officer (maybe get in on one of those psychic training programs, :D), and I do know a lot of weaponry. Now, do I play videogames? Yes. Violent ones? Oh, hell yes. But do I think that just playing those constantly will psyche me up for my first fire-fight or ambush?

FUCK NO.

It's just not the same: when you get ambushed in a game, it's a very detached feeling. You have more time to react, since you're tougher than the average human, for some reason, and you've got enough ammo to gun down half a brigade. However, real-life soldiers don't HAVE all that shit. They don't have ten seconds to think to themselves, "Well, THERE'S the enemy. Hey, maybe I could flank'em..." Soldiers have to react instantly. Soldiers can't take half a magazine of 7.62 NATO to the chest and keep moving- that would shred them (and if this were some lame war-movie, probably end with the commander holding their shattered corpse, screaming to the heavens, "WHY~!?" But I digress...) and leave them to bleed out in some horrified medic's arms. They don't carry enough ammunition to wipe out half an army: they carry as much as they CAN carry without restricting their mobility, since the winner in war isn't the one with the most bullets, sometimes: it's the soldier who can run fastest (this is tactically speaking, of course). Our soldiers aren't god-slayers; our men and women are simply courageous people who willingly put themselves on the line for us.

Now, one of my goals in life (say what you will, it'll stay one of my goals) is to be an officer in the military, either the Navy or the Marines- maybe the Army. Ijust feel like it's the next natural step for me- I'm in an NJROTC (currently a platoon commander), I know copious amounts about the military (... Fuck, I just realized that I could probably fit right into the 'modern major general' archetype! Shit...), and I've always wanted to join the military. This feels like the next great step forward for me, y'know? But more than anything else, if I ever step out into a war-zone, I won't dedicate my survival to Bungie or EA- I'll dedicate it to my D.I.'s, and the accounts of so many past soldiers whose wisdom was collected in print for future generations.

n00bie51:

624:
My 6 year-old cousin has seen various gory war movies and I think he's a bit more immune to being scared by it. I also think the recruits will be surprised when they realize they don't have regenerating health... so they should use the Halo players as cannon-fodder...

Along with the COD players who think they'll be mowing down hundreds of people in a minute. And the Gears of War players who'll rush in using their own ghetto chainsaw bayonets.

Oh and don't forget us TF2 players... MEEEEEEDIIIIC!!! Why the hell didn't you uber me? "dies"
For that matter, running around with bows and bats, too...

There's a PC game called "First to Fight" and was used to train marines on how to control your squad and your enemies. It's fun

i Start basic training in <2 weeks

i really do not feel like i have any advantage coming in as an experienced gamer.
and i wont be announcing it to people when im there either lol.

LiquidXlr8:
How about I just end this thread right here....
First a little background for you. I am typing away at my keyboard on my big comfy couch because I physically cannot get up with out my cane (which is slightly out of reach at the moment) because last month I had my second surgery on my hip. I broke my hip serving my third tour in Iraq with the 172nd (Stryker). I was an infantry(11b/18b) soldier for six years in the United States Army. I served in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
I have played video games my entire life, I am also quite fond of tabletop games. I have played pretty much every violent and vile game you can imagine. I joined the army in 2001, so we were just beginning to have the revolution of FPS's caused by Halo. Let me say this as plainly and briefly as I can manage. There is no experience in any entertainment medium that can prepare you or anyone for the experience of real combat. It does not train you to think tactically. It does nothing to warden you against the panic you will experience. It does not MAKE YOU WANT TO BE A HERO on the battlefield. Your friends who are always on COD know nothing more than any other civilian. A very sound argument could be made that said friend is in fact WORSE off.
I can not begin to tell you how many young privates get hurt or worse because they were what we called too "high speed". You are not, no matter how hard you wish it, being "trained".

I was going to state something about the horror stories that war tends to bring, or that the suicide rate amongst soldiers in today's world has gone up. Or perhaps about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - which not only effects people who were on the battle field, but those that tend to their wounds (for example, that recent American massacre that a military psychologist committed because of the battlefield horror stories he had to deal with on a regular basis when treating patients.)

But this post I am quoting will do the job.

A game will do nothing to protect you from the mental impact of seeing your friend on the field screaming because his arm and leg were blown off by a grenade. It will do nothing to help you from the bullets and stress and pain. There is nothing that even comes close to the real thing.

I can't help but feel this isn't going to help videogames' cause when we say "it creates soldiers!"

Not saying that's what I think, but those games-make-kids-sociopaths types are gonna jump the gun on this sooner or later

GrinningManiac:
I can't help but feel this isn't going to help videogames' cause when we say "it creates soldiers!"

Not saying that's what I think, but those games-make-kids-sociopaths types are gonna jump the gun on this sooner or later

The Metal Gear series already touched on that, with as much logic as those panic ridden game-haters you're referring to.

i am personally part of the canadian army, armored core. and during the two last weeks of basic, where we go out in the field and simulate combat, ive realised how much games HAVE and HAVE NOT prepared me for the real thing (sort of, it was still only an exercice) what games HAVE prepared me for, was an innate sense of cover, as to where when rounds (blanks) started popping, id immediately, almost as a reflex, double tap then charge to the nearest cover, all the while sticking with my team (i play a lot of team-based FPS, like BF2) games also gave me an innate familiarity with weapons, when i was first issed my C7A2 (canadas main battle rifle) i was already holding it up properly, finger besides the trigger, not on it, cannon low, holding the weapon against my body, like ive seen countless times in games: crawling or being prone with a weapon was intuitive for me, walking while aiming, landing your feet heel first so to not trip on something you wouldnt of seen, all things ive seen in movies and games, all things i immitated and that gave me an edge over non-gamers in my plotoon

on the other hand, some things i THOUGHT i would be prepared for and that i was wrong: injuries. during an exercice, i was medic with my fireteam partner. we were simulatingg a civilian hit by a landmine. we were walking down the road, in formation, when we heard a small explosion and a womans yell of pain. we quickly approached the scene and my sargent ordered us to form a perimeter and medics to stand by. when the area was secured, me and my buddy moved up to the civilian and i froze. on her leg a bone was jutting out, her whole leg was tainted with blood and some more was dripping on the ground besides her. i stared at it for a few seconds, until my sargent yelled at me to get down, i realised i stayed standing up up. when i think about it afterwards, i knew it was only a prop, but a good-looking one. i KNEW this was only a simulation, yet i froze, games may show blood and heads exploding and people jerking around in pain, but i can say that nothing prepares you to see the real stuff (even though it was all fake) one other thing games didnt prepare me for: the adrenaline rush and managing it. in a game, when a firefight breaks off, you keep your cool and methodicly take shots at the enemy. during field, damn, it was only blanks and i still would feel my blood pulsing in my head, adrenaline rush 100%, trying to listen to the orders being yelled left and right, trying to get a fix on the enemy, trying to know where team mates, or even more important, where my fireteam partner was, trying to figure out what to do next, yelling for covering fire cuz your medic duty, etc etc. it was all very straining and i was unprepared.

so the point of this whole huge text is to say that although games do prepare you for SOME things, i believe they can never make a real soldier out of an ordinary man. they are not an excuse for training, they are most certainly not replacement for real knowledge.

this is all, of course, my humble opinion.

P.S. go canadian forces! :P

90% of the people in this thread.:
No regenerating health, respawns, chainsaws, etc. Idiots are going to get themselves killed.

You guys DO realize that the Army still has a lengthy training program for recruits, right? This isn't WWII Russia, where we hand a rifle and some ammo to the poor sobs just getting off the train, and tell them to kill. When the U.S. sends men into battle, they're going to be damn ready for it.

All this article is saying is that people today know more about warfare than 60 years ago, and some recruits actually know what what you mean by 'M4A2 Carbine with a reflex sight, and foregrip', or what an AH-6 Apache gunship is.

I do remember a mate of mine thinking that after he played CoD4, that he actually did it, or at least acted like he was Soap and did all that weird shit. Had to give him a good clout around the head for that one

LiquidXlr8:
How about I just end this thread right here....
I can not begin to tell you how many young privates get hurt or worse because they were what we called too "high speed". You are not, no matter how hard you wish it, being "trained".

Everyone should make sure to read your full reply earlier in the thread and understand it, and thank you so very much for your service.

If the author's intent is to simply say that people know what a tank looks like or that soldiers take and hold positions, that's one thing, but to imply that somehow this gives you any training as to actually being a soldier is pretty unbelievable.

Forget fighting a war, I have to wonder how many 'veteran' FPS players could even load, unload and fire a pistol or a rifle, unless they're already hunters or gun enthusiasts of some sort. Then how many could actually hit a stationary target, then a moving target, and how about shooting a guy who's shooting you? Here's a hint, it doesn't involve any of the buttons or the right or left trigger.

I think as Liquid mentioned, the real danger here isn't that video games are training kids to be soldiers, it's that they're making them think they're training to be soldiers, so that when the real training comes, they don't have realistic expectations.

Kandiell:

so the point of this whole huge text is to say that although games do prepare you for SOME things, i believe they can never make a real soldier out of an ordinary man. they are not an excuse for training, they are most certainly not replacement for real knowledge.

this is all, of course, my humble opinion.

P.S. go canadian forces! :P

First, hello fellow CF member :D

For those of you that want a good read on this topic and the preconditioning of soldiers, take a look at a book called 'On Killing' by dave grossman. The science behind some of the studies are flawed, he is a nut job, but it does get you thinking. He argues that the reason why so many people fired into the air is that people have an inherent aversion to killing others, and that video games help break down that wall and atleast make the first shot easier.

I've met plenty of new soldiers who come in with this exact mentality. It's stupid. They come from a hyper violent culture (USA) and yearn for action and combat. At least in the infantry. I don't know much about the POG culture. Not all of them, since I've met some good people with their heads on straight too.

Army doesn't give a shit though. Having them brainwashed before coming in only makes their job easier.

Im only a reservist, but i wouldn't equate anything from COD or any other FPS as being useful for me. If anything, i find it funny how my computer game avatar can carry ludicrous amounts of ammo, the supernatural reloading speed, and how my ammo count is always there on the screen for convenience sake. Not to mention the superman level of fitness the avatar has from tireless running and jumping from one cover or the other, or the fact that i can do ankle breaking jumps from 2 storey buildings and sprint on happy as larry. I mean sprinting half a level, and then bringing your rifle up to your shoulder and having steady and perfect aim is a joke :)

Try lugging a rifle around for 48 hours on tactics and by christ any delusions of soldiering being easy like COD soon goes. Not to mention everything happening at once when you do get hit up (and thats only training, i've never been and hope to never be in combat)

I enjoy games, but i couldn't see how they could be used beyond a possible recruiting tool.

 

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