Third Army prepares Soldiers for dangers of Afghan roads
August 31, 2011
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait, Aug. 31, 2011 -- For years, improvised explosive devices, roadside bombs and mines have been a fact of war. Add in mountainous terrain and unfavorable driving conditions, and navigating the roads of Afghanistan can be a nightmare.
However, Third Army/ARCENT is doing its part to prepare Soldiers in the event of a vehicular accident. The mine-resistant, ambush protected vehicle egress trainer, known as the MET Trainer, course is designed to ready service members for the mean streets of Afghanistan.
"This block of instruction is filled with battle drills to help the Soldiers understand the procedures and processes for escaping the MRAP vehicle anytime it's turned on its side or completely inverted," said W.M. Muhammad Langley, Raytheon paramedic and MET Trainer.
Muhammad and his assistant spend approximately three hours with each MET class, which includes a safety briefing and time in a MRAP simulator. No matter the experience level of the Soldier, the course offers helpful advice.
"We have some combat experience, but to my knowledge, nobody in our unit has ever experienced a rollover," said Capt. Stephen Haley, commander, 230th Signal Company. "That's why the training is good, so we can experience a rollover in a teaching environment."
In an ideal world, Soldiers will complete the mission and report back safely. Combat situations sometimes cause adverse circumstances, so it's important for leadership to have faith in their subordinates, said Haley.
"Anytime you're in a vehicle like the MRAP, you're always going to be in the midst of danger," Haley stated. "This type of training gets us ready. In the event of a rollover, we leaders can rely on the Soldiers to safely get out of the vehicle."
Becoming proficient in MET techniques can save lives. If any of the students were to think the training doesn't pertain to them, they'd be mistaken, said Langley.
"A lot of my students I've spoken with have experienced a rollover," Langley said. "At Camp Leatherneck, we had a few incidents where vehicles rolled over. The Soldiers told me they remembered everything from my block of instruction and were able to apply it successfully."
Knowing trainees have taken his lessons and used them for survival gives Langley a sense of pride.
"It's quite rewarding to know the Soldiers I've taught have actually been in rollover experiences and were able to apply countermeasures to survive," Langley said.
Being able to overcome obstacles in the Army is a way of life. MET training is another tool Soldiers can use to stay alive.
"It's about survivability," Langley said. "The course teaches you how to maintain composure, alleviate panic, successfully egress from the vehicle, set up the necessary parameters, and proceed with the mission itself."
Third Army/ARCENT leaders hold the safety of its servicemembers as a top priority. Before leaving Kuwait and advancing to Afghanistan or Iraq, Soldiers are mandated to attending the MET course.