By Gloria Rodríguez
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Thanks to virtual reality, you’ll be able to experience what it’s like to be in the Navy, at this weekend’s San Francisco Fleet Week Air Show.
The Nimitz Virtual Reality Experience is housed inside an 18-wheeler. When you step inside, you feel like you’re driving a high-speed stealthy boat. Your mission is to pick up Navy SEALs under fire.
Navy Commander Bryan Dearolf said they put a virtual reality headset on you as part of the experience.
“And we’ll also put a vest on you that vibrates and percusses, so you can kind of sense and feel what it’s like,” Commander Dearolf said. “The specific situation that you’re in in the Nimitz is driving a spec war boat (Special Warfare Combatant Craft) to extract Navy SEALs so there’s a wheel that you’re driving and a throttle.”
Commander Dearolf was a Navy Pilot.
“I flew Seahawks, the (MH-60R) Seahawk across the globe for the majority of my career,” Commander Dearolf said. “And I did have the opportunity to work with Navy SEALs and do extractions and serve as a sniper over watch on certain missions.”
When asked how virtual reality compares to real life, he said:
“It’s a very high caliber machine, the Nimitz, and I’d say it’s as close as we can do with virtual reality and the systems we have in place to simulate what it’s like in real life,” Commander Dearolf said. “It really showcases what our Navy does and what our sailors do. The pride and professionalism, the training that they receive to do these very, very dangerous missions.”
Afterward, you get feedback on how you did.
Commander Dearolf is the Commanding Officer for Navy Talent Acquisition Group Golden Gate, Navy recruiters for Northern and Central California.
Ultimately this is a recruiting tool. They hope to showcase what a career in the Navy could look like.
You can experience this for yourself Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the San Francisco Air Show at 200 Marina Boulevard in San Francisco.
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