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Task Force Normandy Virtual Staff Ride

Military personnel gathered around a sand table in a briefing room, discussing strategy or receiving orders, with some taking notes.
An Apache helicopter flying low over a barren landscape, with its rotors spinning and equipped with armaments.

This staff ride examines the operation of Task Force Normandy, centered on the 1st Battalion, 101st Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division during OPERATION DESERT SHIELD and OPERATION DESERT STORM. However, the field study’s primary focus is on the mission planning, team selection, training, and interoperability of the eight Army AH-64A Apache helicopter teams working with four Air Force MH-53J Pave Low helicopter teams. The Task Force conducted a deep attack into Iraq to destroy two early warning radar sites to blind the Iraqi’s air defense system prior to the start of the air campaign and OPERATION DESERT STORM.

The primary learning objective is to discuss the insights and lessons learned in the planning, training, and execution of a deep attack operation within a complex environment, especially at the battalion and company level.

The Task Force Normandy VSR is fully exportable to any organization that has access to the Army-licensed gaming software, Virtual Battlespace 3 (VBS3). Each exportable package includes full instructor support materials, student readings, and instructions on how to use everything. Please see below.

Task Force Normandy Virtual Staff Ride Material

Hamburger Hill VSR Introduction

Task Force Normandy VSR Introduction

This file provides an overview of the VSR, what products comprise the VSR, how to download the products, and how they are used to conduct the VSR. The exportable VSR contains all the elements of a “ground” staff ride, but with the terrain being presented with a computer in a classroom environment.

Download the VSR Introduction

Virtual Battlespace 3 Instructions

Virtual Terrain for Task Force Normandy

The VSR runs off the Army’s games-for-training platform, Virtual Battlespace 3 (VBS3). Only current license holders with a CAC enabled computer can operate VBS3. New download authorizations are not available due to contract restrictions with the software manufacturer. Use this link to access the Army’s Milgaming site for the terrain files. Detailed instructions on how to load the files into VBS3 are at the Milgaming link. For technical questions or issues relating to VBS3, contact customer support at Bohemia Interactive Simulations at (866) 755-5127.

Army Milgaming Site

Preliminary Study Materials

Preliminary Study Materials

These materials help prepare staff ride participants for their virtual visit to the campaign area. The Task Force Normandy read ahead is compiled from Deep Maneuver (part of the AUP LSCO Series), Certain Victory: The US Army in the Gulf War, The Whirlwind War, First Shots Fired in Anger from Soldiers Magazine, and Apache Attack from Air Force Magazine.

Download the Read Ahead

Field Phase Materials

Field Phase Materials

These resources are for the staff ride facilitator or instructor. The notes are the materials the instructor uses to tie the terrain, the historical narrative, and the visual aids together. The visual aids help keep the participants oriented to the virtual terrain and to the historical context of the operation.

Download the Instructor Notes

Download the Operators Notes

Download the Visual Aids