1st Marine Division Night Vision Training

1st Marine Division made it a requirement in early 2017
for all infantry units to conduct night live-fire training up through the platoon level, with the
goal of getting to the company level. We’ve noticed some some
operational gaps in the past, and we can’t surrender the nighttime to the enemy. The course that we offer here is a
night-vision device operators course. It was born out of the ACE, the Aviation Combat Elements, night-vision
style teaching that they go through. It’s an eight-hour course where
they learn the ins and the outs of how to use their sensor at night in
some of the best and worst conditions. This course was meant to give them
some sort of standardized training. Something that we have seen as of late is
that the GCE currently doesn’t have anything that’s equivalent to the ACE in terms of: How do I use this? How do I operationally check this? How do I focus this NVD
to the gold standard? So this course was born out of that, and was meant to fulfill the
need of standardized training. And so, when we started peeling back
what we were doing as far as training and education for night-vision devices, we
noticed that there were some deficiencies. Both in formal instruction and
what was being done at the unit. So we kind of looked around
to see what right looked like, and MAG 39 had this night lab
with an operational physiologist, and so we talked to them, and
asked for some assistance. And once we had seen their product, we said that, “We need to replicate that, we need that
capability inherent inside that division.” If you look across the Marine Corps,
and our capabilities right now, man mounted equipment is
becoming more and more prevalent. We want that to be able to give
the edge to our warfighters. If you don’t know how to use the devices then you
lose capability with all this expensive equipment. Currently there’s nobody else in the Marine Corps
who’s able to provide this kind of training. We have the assets, we have
other operational physiologists. 1st MarDiv is really leading the
way with this kind of training. And it’s big to the mission, because without a course like this, you get a
Marine Corps that has very high mishap rate. As these devices get more complicated,
we can lose sight of just the fundamentals. How do you focus this? How can we understand the environment? What it’s doing for us? The illumination, the contrast, the obscurance? And if you don’t understand the basics, then you lose sight of the entire mission.

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