So it’s not the kind of recognition that you might get for being on American Idol or, say, having the front of you photographed, but we are not a picky people; Stephen and I will take whatever slice of the fame pie that fate wants to offer up. This time around, it was the back of the head slice.
So this is what infantrymen do when they aren’t deployed – they played video games. Oh, excuse me, they work on training simulators.
Stars & Stripes ran an article about it here, but the short version is that Stephen and some fellow soldiers spent all week learning how to use this new virtual training system. The straps and things on their bodies control an avatar, sort of like on Nintendo Wii. (You kneel, your avatar kneels – that kind of thing.) They work as a team to complete missions and do things like breach buildings and kill Taliban. The idea is that the simulator could improve team work/team cohesion and give the soldiers realistic practice without having to go into the field or put wear and tear on actual weapons.
If you’re so inclined, you can also watch a YouTube video that the unit released here to get a better look at how it works. (Stephen’s voice is the first voice you hear in the video, and he’s front and center in the first shot of the soldiers kneeling.) Alas, it’s not terribly exciting and just looks like a bunch of guys standing around. I’m sure it’s much more fun if you are actually doing it. All in a day’s work.
Have you ever had a brush with “fame?” When I was 10, my picture was in the newspaper for the lemonade stand my friend and I set up in front of her house.