Despite the tragic events of last week that have affected the entire country, high tech military exercises are continuing as scheduled at Curtis Field. The virtual battle simulation that will be the “final exam” for the 4th Infantry Division has already begun. The activities of last week hit some soldiers at the simulation close to home’literally. Rasheeda Alladin, an E-2 soldier from Queens, NY, has family relatives who were mere blocks away from the World Trade Center when it was attacked. “I haven’t even been able to talk to them since it happened, but I did receive word from my company commander that everyone was all right. My mom works in mid-town Manhattan and my brother was right down the street when it happened. I was able to call once, but I was only able to talk to their machine. “Being out here in the field away from it all, it doesn’t seem real. I can’t imagine what it looks like without those buildings in the skyline.” Wednesday, Alladin was scheduled to be deployed back to Fort Hood where she will await her next assignment. With a stepped-up security being the only major difference in the mobile communication center at the airport, the troops from Fort Hood are continuing with their battle simulation. The forces now number 550 individuals working 12-hour shifts as the virtual battle begins. “The events in New York and Washington D.C. have affected us all individually, but we still have a job to do,” said G3 Sergeant Major Urich. “This simulation will determine whether or not military divisions are ready to convert to digitized operations.” A miniture city connected by miles of computer networking cable is now gearing up for what will be an all-out war, all in virtual reality. Complete with air support, fire support, engineers and virtual troop movement, the entire simulation will test the effectiveness of the communication and the abilities of the commanding officers to process and relay data in a virtual reality format. It is believed that the simulation conducted here in Brady will be witnessed by some of the highest ranking military officials in the nation via secure satellite uplinks. Wednesday afternoon, commanding generals were testing audio and visual communications, air support was sending virtual reconnaissance aircraft into enemy territory, maps and river crossings were being detailed and data was being entered into computers to assist in the deployment of virtual troops. The virtual battle has begun. Its results may now be more important than ever.