The 10,000 square feet, multi-million dollar facility made its debut at this year’s Daytona 500 and will make its way to Columbia on Memorial Day weekend. The Virtual Army Experience is a simulated video game that mimics real life military combat.
“Its goal is to give people a hands-on experience that’s much more life-like than anything we’ve done before,” says U.S. Army Captain Matthew Shaw.
He says the simulator showcases just one of the many images of war. Images all too familiar for Captain Chris Hoffman who’s in the National Guard. We took a copy of the video game to show him and his fellow National Guardsmen.
“I mean, we would play video games of war when we were over there,” explains Hoffman.
He says the game may resemble the military experience, but not the everyday routine for soldiers, which consists of more than just constant warfare.
“It gives you a view of what they might get into, rather than going into a recruiter and telling he’ll never see combat,” says 1st Lt. David Longhibler.
Not only is the Virtual Army Experience an activity for the general public, but may also serve as an avenue for recruitment.
“It certainly has that potential. People get out of it excited about the military and there are some who would never thinking about joining. But, they just have an appreciation of what our soliders do. And that’s the fantastic benefit of it,” Shaw says.