ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Local students, military veterans and APG community members inspected and explored the Army's latest advancements in protective masks, body armor, ballistics protection and renewable energy at Armed Forces Day May 15.

Scientists and engineers of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command displayed their work to unburden, empower and protect Soldiers at the APG-North Recreation Center.

Jennifer Carroll, an outreach specialist with RDECOM's Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, talked with students from Chapel Hill Elementary School in Perry Hall, Md., about how the Army encourages science, technology, engineering and math education.

"It's critical to move forward with efforts to excite students in STEM. The Army needs a technically skilled workforce to keep Soldiers safe," Carroll said.

Many ECBC employees are nearing retirement age, and the Army will need young scientists and engineers to replenish the workforce, Carroll said.

Leroy Stitz and Steve Yurechko of ECBC presented a historical display of the military's respiratory protection, including the latest advancements.

RDECOM demonstrated its effort to bring renewable energy to the battlefield with the Renewable Energy for Distributed Undersupplied Command Environments, or REDUCE.

The REDUCE, which is attached to a trailer and can be towed with a Humvee, harvests solar and wind energy and is intended to reduce the cost and logistics burden of delivering traditional fossil fuels, said Cao Chung, a chemical engineer with RDECOM's Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center.

The system on display was providing power to stereo speakers, a cell phone, a TV and a laptop with energy to spare, Chung said. It is one of CERDEC's first prototypes, and the next step for engineers is to improve the efficiency of solar panels.

The REDUCE is undergoing testing in CERDEC's laboratories and at controlled Army demonstrations such as the Network Integration Evaluation.

Daniel Berka, Michael Zalewski, Shaun Haskell, Darla Flanagan-Lassiter, Rafael Casanova and Chung comprised the CERDEC team.

RDECOM's Army Research Laboratory showed off its technologies in the areas of head protection, enhanced small-arms ammunition, transparent armor, body armor and handheld improvised explosive device detectors.

ARL engineer Steve Taulbee said students were interested in what types of materials comprise Soldiers' body armor and helmets. Brendan Patton, Art Carey and Wendy Leonard completed the ARL team.

Taulbee said he spoke with a Gold Star Mother whose son, a Marine, was killed in combat. He expressed his condolences and emphasized that ARL works to develop the best technology for service members.

"What we do at ARL in maximizing armor is to provide the best protection for Soldiers," Taulbee said.

Page last updated Wed May 15th, 2013 at 15:13