287th Sustainment Brigade Begins MRAP Rollover Training
June 29, 2009
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq - Knowing what to expect and how to react during a vehicle rollover were the learning objectives of the 287th Sustainment Brigade's Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle Egress Training here May 29.
The MET class trainer - a replica of an MRAP MaxxPro chassis - was delivered to the 287th Sust. Bde. in early May. It was co-located with the brigade's humvee Egress Assistance Trainer facility to allow Soldiers to train on both systems.
The MET class was conducted in two phases, said Brandon Kerschner, a civilian contractor, who teaches the course and is a native of Killeen, Texas. The first phase consisted of classroom training and practice drills; in the second phase, students used the trainer to apply what they learned in two accident scenarios - a 90-degree side rollover and a 180-degree rollover.
"We're trying to familiarize Soldiers to what it feels like when a rollover occurs and give them the tools to get safely out of the vehicle. If they do have a rollover, they'll be able to fall back on their training," said Kerschner. Because they've experienced it here, they'll know what to do during and after the rollover, how to secure things and how to get their equipment and fellow Soldiers out, he said.
According to Kerschner, the MET training is not available in the United States and in only a few places overseas. "Five prototypes were built. The demand for the training was so great all of them were fielded. Three of them are in Kuwait. The other two are in Afghanistan. There are also three production models in Iraq. The one here is production number one and the other two are at Taji and Al Asad. Production models are also being fielded in Afghanistan," he said.
First Lt. Matthew J. Gilpin, 287th Sust. Bde. assistant operations officer and a native of Cherryville, Kan., is the program manager for the MET training. Until plans for air conditioning at the training site are implemented, he said, the classes are held early in the mornings to avoid the summer heat. "Right now we're running from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. in the morning, four classes a day, six days a week. Sunday is a reset day for us, when we do periodic maintenance on the equipment," he said.
To date, it's been easy to keep every class filled. The 3d Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) determined who needs the MET training, Gilpin said. "My plan is to follow the 3d ESC guidance, which is for every driver, truck commander, gunner or anyone who rides in an MRAP go through this trainer,"
Among the first group of Soldiers to go through the MET trainer was Spc. Adam Ortiz, a driver for Alpha Battery, 3rd Battalion 133rd Field Artillery Regiment and a native of El Paso, Texas. Having experienced a "very bad" rollover accident before in civilian life, he said the training should make him more cautious while on the road.
"The instructors teach Soldiers what to do in case of a rollover. It's going to help having a feel for what might happen, how to get out of the seat belts and knowing all the safety issues. I'm better prepared now," he said.