"Rollover, rollover, rollover!"
February 12, 2009
FORT HOOD, Texas - The screams were mixed with laughter, but there was one word that could be easily discerned amongst the clatter: "rollover."
Soldiers from the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, mounted up on spinning simulators of the Army's High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, a vehicle used commonly for ground travel in Iraq.
This simulator, called the HMMWV Egress Assistance Trainer, was developed in order to give Soldiers the experience of what it feels like to roll over in a humvee, said Master Sgt. Blake Kennedy, the fires operations sergeant for the 1st ACB "Warriors."
The combat vet has been in many situations where his humvee has been at the critical limit just before rolling over but has never actually been in a rollover accident, said Kennedy, of Shreveport, La.
"This is good training, but as far as the real thing, there's nothing that can really prepare you for what the real things going to feel like," Kennedy said. "We can just give you the training to know what to do once it happens."
Which is exactly the point of the HEAT program, he said.
Although the training was about serious business, most Soldiers couldn't keep from smiling and laughing, but that was fine with Kennedy.
"The Soldiers are having a lot of fun; we try to make it fun ... because if you don't then it's just boring and they just go away with nothing, but if you make it fun, they tend to learn," he said.
One of the Soldiers who had fun was Pfc. Timothy Edmonds, a paralegal for the Warriors
"(The training) wasn't too bad, but it wasn't at combat speed - it could always be worse," said Edmonds of Elmwood, Tenn.
"It would help give you a better insight to what it would feel like to be flipped over in a humvee," he said.
The training, not lasting much more than 20 minutes, is quick and to the point, but Kennedy said he believes the Soldiers walk away with critical training.
"It helps save lives," he said.