If someone were to walk the aisles of the Training Support Center warehouse at Fort Riley, he or she might think they’re in a Hollywood prop house that specializes in war movies.
Shelves are lined with every sort of item found in theater, from regional costumes to weapons. But the costumes are sewn in Kansas, and the weapons are made of rubber.
These items are part of an inventory of training devices Fort Riley supplies to units in Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.
Known as training aids devices simulators and simulations, or TADSS, they encompass everything from virtual simulators that mirror the exact terrain a Soldier might encounter, to medical kits that can help replicate wounds for medical training.
TADSS are designed to replicate the real world as closely as possible in order to help Soldiers get better at their jobs without having to actually be in combat.
“The TSC provides an enormous amount of resources that help us train our Soldiers,” said Maj. Aaron Leonard, support team chief, Devices Offices, Systems Training Integration and Devices Directorate, during a recent fact-finding visit to Fort Riley Dec. 3.
Leonard and Robert Nierstheimer, project manager, Training-Support Material Armywide Tracking System, Army Training Information Systems Directorate, came to Fort Riley looking for best practices they could leverage and apply to an Army enterprise system, according to Nierstheimer.
Specifically, the pair wanted to see Fort Riley’s TSC operation, including a web-based catalog developed in-house by Matthew Allain, electronics technician, Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security.
Allain said he noticed Soldiers coming into the TSC who weren’t familiar with the center or its inventory and thought of e-commerce websites.
“Why can’t you create a system (that) replicates (e-commerce), where someone can (access it) from a remote location and be able to understand who we are and what we have and maybe set up a training,” Allain said.
The result was the TSC catalog, a web-based system that users across the region can access using a common access card to view the training inventory, including descriptions, photos and video of devices, and place orders for upcoming training.
“It’s a training management tool,” said John Bess, supervisory supply technician, DPTMS. “It affords (a) unit commander the ability to plan his or her training for (the) unit and to be able to look at the TADSS that we have that support that training event. Now (commanders) can plan (trainings) out. Now they can see it, before they couldn’t.”
“(The catalog) is a very unique characteristic of this TSC. Nobody else has that,” Leonard said.
“This is the only one that provides that level of support through that website that lets you see the picture of the device, and you know that it’s available. You can reserve it. You can talk to the guy at the warehouse.”
Leonard and Nierstheimer want to get the word out about the TSC catalog across Fort Riley, as well as other parts of Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota.
“It’s a critical piece of the TSC, being able to support outside the gate,” Leonard said. “(A Soldier) in South Dakota (will get) the same level of support as somebody who’s stationed right here on Fort Riley.”
With Operation Iraqi Freedom over and Operation Enduring Freedom winding down, effective TSC operations will become more critical as the Army shifts its focus toward training.
“(The TSC is) going to be seeing a lot more use – a lot more customers,” Leonard said. “We want to look at what (Fort Riley is) doing. We want to see how they manage their TADSS with their Soldiers and see what kind of training devices are available and how (Fort Riley goes) about saving time.”
The TSC catalog has streamlined operations. Users can pre-order TADSS, which allows employees to pre-pack orders and better manage training inventory and time.
“They pre-order it, we pre-pull it, pre-package it for them and have it ready for them when they show up,” Allain said.
The TSC catalog continues to evolve as DPTMS employees collaborate to find ways to improve performance and enhance efficiencies.
The ultimate goal of the TSC is to support the Soldiers.
“When they actually go out there, they’ll be able to hopefully become first-time go’s on the training missions,” Nierstheimer said.
“What I have available – whether it be simulators, simulations, whatever it may be – that one piece. If that saves one Soldier’s life, then everything I do is worth it. That’s my job. That’s what I love,” said Troy Russell, chief, TSC, DPTMS.
For more information and to view the TSC catalog, visit www.riley.army.mil/UnitPage.aspx?unit=DPTMS.Train.TSC.
By Julie Fiedler
1st Inf. Div. Post
Julie Fiedler | POST
Matthew Allain, electronics technician, DPTMS, left, and Charles Garrett, supply technician, DPTMS, center right, show the web-based TSP catalog system to visitors Maj. Aaron Leonard, support team chief, STIDD, center left, and Robert Nierstheimer, project manager, TS-MATS, ATISD, right, Dec. 3 at the TSC.
Troy Russell, chief, TSC, DPTMS, right, shows Maj. Aaron Leonard, support team chief, STIDD, left, training equipment available for check out Dec. 3 at the TSC.