Deep in the Mojave Desert, a small Alaska Native village corporation--The Tatitlek Corp.-is engaging in a unique way to serve its county, shareholders and state.
Tatitlek provides role-players who support realistic predeployment training conducted by the Marine Corps at Twentynine Palms, Calif. The critical training teaches Marines the skills they need to anticipate and effectively respond to real-life combat situations in Iraq. Tatitlek's role is to provide foreign language speakers and civilians on the battlefield to interact with the trainees, as well as experienced project managers.
Mojave Viper, as the predeployment training is called, is designed to be as real as possible. The training site resembles an actual Iraqi village with a marketplace, cafe, mosque and other common buildings. The village is populated with Arabic-speaking, culturally garbed role-players pretending to be Iraqi citizens. For added realism, there are weapons and explosives, as well as Hollywood-style makeup featuring blood and injuries. The trainees get a first-hand opportunity to react to the role-players in varying scenarios.
"The training is all about protecting the lives of Marines in Iraq, as well as the lives of civilians," explained Tatitlek President and CEO, Roy Totemoff. "Our troops have an important and dangerous mission, and our goal is to assist the Marine Corps with providing a realistic training experience so they know what to expect and so they make mistakes in a controlled environment--before they are deployed."
As part of the training, the role players assume various characterizations to create convincing situations. For example, the foreign language speakers typically portray religious leaders, mayors and members of opposing forces, embedded interpreters, and others in simulated cultural roles. They're generally foreign-born American citizens who have the language skills and life experiences required to replicate real life in the combat zone in question.
On the other hand, the civilians on the battlefield include a large number of military veterans. Their experience in readiness and predeployment provides them with the background to effectively act as refugees, military resistance operatives, terrorists and victims of terrorist attacks.
The role players are a key component in producing authentic predeployment training exercises. In fact, the training is so realistic that it recently garnered national...