Ft. Benning is the location of Army infantry basic training, and also hosts the National Infantry Museum. The intersection of these means that the museum has some seriously cool simulators:
The EST 2000 is an M4/16 electronic simulator used by recruits before they go to the live fire range. It provides a very realistic rifle, with removable magazine, charging handles, select fire (Safe/Semi/"Get you some of that") with a projected display of a firing range. Targets appear, and some of them move. Laser designators score hits and misses. You have to score 10 out of 20 to qualify as an infantryman.
Well, I qualified. Barely. #2 Son (of course) handily beat be. He's almost 16 - they wanted his phone number for the recruiter.
I'd talk about how my mistake was bracing the M4 on a sand bag, and that what I gained in stability I lost in target acquisition time. But I can already hear you giggling, so I'll just move along ...
There are even cooler simulators:
Assemble your team for a HMMWV mission. Yeah, baby! Sadly, one of the compressors went out, and we'll have to go back. But think about that for a minute - you use a compressor to make something move via air pressure. Something like a HMMVW. Feedback!
The rest of the museum is nothing short of spectacular. The exhibits are a great mix of artifacts (Saddam's double barrel Buffalo rifle!), interactive touch screen displays, videos, and immerse experiences - the Vietnam night patrol is a little hair raising.
The best part: it's free. Donations are encouraged. (You pay for the simulators)
It's 2 hours from Atlanta. We'll be back, maybe with #1 Son. There's a Blackhawk simulation mission I hear calling.
Plus, there are mil-surp stores everywhere. I came back with one of these:
"Anything worth shooting is worth shooting a second time." "Active ingredient: lead. Typical side effects: death."
It was a good day.