Navy recruiters get in on the VR game, showing potential sailors what it’s like to drive a special warfare boat

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A student, attending the Burlington County Institute of Technology Medford public school, uses Navy Recruiting Command's virtual reality asset, the Nimitz, during the Philadelphia Swarm. A Swarm event is a large-scale recruiting effort run by the nation's top Navy recruiters to saturate a specified market with Navy outreach, information and recruiting assets Dec. 11, 2019 (Navy photo/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Diana Quinlan)

MEDFORD — The Navy does more than drive boats, but recruiters say students won't just learn that from reading a brochure nowadays.

The Nimitz, a virtual reality-filled tractor trailer used by recruiters, made its way to Burlington County Institute of Technology's Medford campus Wednesday, putting teenagers at the wheel of a boat through simulations of missions.


"The simulation gives them an opportunity to see the different mission areas the Navy has," Commanding Officer Kemi Elebute, from the Philadelphia recruiting district, said. "There's one that takes them through a special warfare mission, they get to drive a boat. They get a real-life feel of how it could be."

Outside in the school parking lot, students were given individualized dog tags that gave them access to VR missions and let them know they did at the end. While they waited, members of the Navy recruiting team also held a pull-up challenge and used the dog tags to show students their results in real time.

"There's a whole lot of different technology the Navy uses," senior Tashoun Butler said. "I learned some of the actual situations they're in, and it was really informative."

Elebute said the Nimitz is helping students get a better grasp on the wide variety of paths available within the Navy. For students at vocational tech schools in particular, it's a chance to learn how their skills might align with careers the Navy offers, he said.

"It's great to be able to talk to students. The Navy's unique. We're always seeking technically proficient students. We are constantly looking for young men and women trained in science, technology, engineering and math, so it's great for students to see it."

©2019 Burlington County Times, Willingboro, N.J. - Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Soldiers from the 1-118th Field Artillery Regiment of the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team fire an M777 Howitzer during a fire mission in Southern Afghanistan, June 10th, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jordan Trent)

Once again, the United States and the Taliban are apparently close to striking a peace deal. Such a peace agreement has been rumored to be in the works longer than the latest "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" sequel. (The difference is Keanu Reeves has fewer f**ks to give than U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.)

Both sides appeared to be close to reaching an agreement in September until the Taliban took credit for an attack that killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. That prompted President Donald Trump to angrily cancel a planned summit with the Taliban that had been scheduled to take place at Camp David, Maryland, on Sept. 8.

Now Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen has told a Pakistani newspaper that he is "optimistic" that the Taliban could reach an agreement with U.S. negotiators by the end of January.

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Editor's note: a version of this post first appeared in 2018

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Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The Navy and Marine Corps need to be a bit more short-sighted when assessing how many ships they need, the acting Navy secretary said this week.

The Navy Department is in the middle of a new force-structure review, which could change the number and types of ships the sea services say they'll need to fight future conflicts. But instead of trying to project what they will need three decades out, which has been the case in past assessments, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said the services will take a shorter view.

"I don't know what the threat's going to be 30 years from now, but if we're building a force structure for 30 years from now, I would suggest we're probably not building the right one," he said Friday at a National Defense Industrial Association event.

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When Oscar Jesus Temores showed up to work at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story each day, his colleagues in base security knew they were in for a treat.

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"He just he just had that personality that you can go up to him and talk to him about anything. It was goofy and weird, and he always had jokes," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Derek Lopez, a fellow base patrolman. "Sometimes he'd make you cry from laughter and other times you'd just want to cringe because of how dumb his joke was. But that's what made him more approachable and easy to be around."

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