A new simulation exercise is now in place for US troops at the Camp Atterbury Joint Maneuver Training Center near Edinburgh, Indiana. Built primarily from off-the-shelf components, the system is designed to better prepare soldiers for the physical and psychological challenges of IED attacks, which are currently the number one threat to military personnel stationed in Afghanistan. Situated inside a mounted vehicle and positioned in front of a large screen, service members are exposed to jarring explosions, smoke, noise and poor visibility -- all common occurrences of IED assaults. The system records the entire nightmarish scenario, which allows participants to review their performance and learn from their mistakes.

For soldiers who've never been to Afghanistan, the simulator will also be used to familiarize troops with the war zone terrain and other situations they may encounter along the way. Just how realistic is the IED simulation? According to Spc. Darren J. Ganier-Slotterbeck, "I deployed in 2005, 2007 and 2008 with the Marines. I've been blown up multiple times, and it definitely brought back memories. I was a little shaky when I got out of that thing. I'm not going to lie." He went on to say, "If we'd had the ability to go through training like this at the time, those deployments would have been a lot different." Sounds scary. We're not going to lie.

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IED attack simulator prepares US soldiers prior to Afghan deployment