Senior Pedry Selected to Demonstrate Military Simulator

by Rashad Mulla

Senior Pedry Selected to Demonstrate Military Simulator

Military veteran and George Mason University senior Andrew Pedry divides his time between working at the Office of Military Services at Mason and studying to earn dual degrees in history and religious studies. Last month, he took part in a different type of professional engagement, one that called upon his combat experience.

Pedry was one of three U.S. Marine Corps veterans demonstrating a new virtual simulator, the Expedition DI, at the Association of the United States Army Convention in Washington, D.C.  The simulator is a virtual walkthrough of realistic foreign combat environments, designed to test soldiers’ skills, such as moving, shooting, communication, decision-making and strategy through the use of sensor technology.

Usually, training and environmental simulation drills are in-person and on-site, said Pedry, and are more expensive and time-consuming.

“This helps with the kind of situational conditions that are very hard to replicate outside of a really expensive live-action scenario,” Pedry said. “It allows you to take a much more immersive approach to that walkthrough level of training, before going out into the field. By the time you get there, you’re really more ready for what you’re doing.” 

The technology employs sensors on a participant’s vest, helmet, thigh, shoulder and mock rifle.

“So all of your local movements, such as twisting your torso, kneeling, lying in the prone and moving your head are all simulated by your avatar,” Pedry explained.

Pedry applied for the demonstration, which called for soldiers with infantry experience. He served in the Marine Corps from 2000-2004, with the 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. He served for two years as an infantryman in a small boat company, and two more years as a scout-sniper. He was stationed in Okinawa, Japan for six months in 2001, and he was part of the invasion force in Iraq in 2003.

After returning to the U.S. in 2004, he enrolled at Mason, and is currently studying to become a historian focused on the Middle Ages. His current research project is titled, "Violence and the Sacred in the Mind of Saint Bernard." His future plans include graduate school. He also works in Mason’s Office of Military Services.

Pedry lives in Leesburg with his wife and two daughters.