By Rebecca S. Robinson, CERDEC CP&I DirectorateJune 13, 2013
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (June 19, 2013) -- Interns from the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's communications and electronics center participated in training events designed to familiarize them with "day-to-day" military training June 3-7.
The class of 30 interns from the Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center's Command, Power and Integration Directorate attended the inaugural Greening Course at APG and nearby Gunpowder Military Reservation.
During the week-long event, the Army placed emphasis on sharing Soldier experience and training, and reminded the class that Soldiers are their end customer.
"Our mission is to make sure Soldiers have the latest, greatest equipment. To do that you have to understand their needs," said John Willison, CP&I director. "I would encourage you to get up and get out, to talk to Soldiers on a regular basis."
Interns carried the theme of sharing a Soldier's experience throughout the week in the greening class events and exercises.
On the first day, class participants received their team and squad assignments for the rest of the week. The class learned how an Army squad moves while on patrol and gained firsthand experience on how difficult it can be to move in formation, through the woods while keeping quiet.
Participants spent the rest of the week between Gunpowder Military Reservation and the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center, or ATC. The class tackled the Leadership Reaction Course, visited training facilities for live fire room clearing, navigated an obstacle course, participated in a Land Navigation course competition, toured ATC's facilities, and experienced driving several mine resistant ambush protected vehicles at the Munson Test Area.
The Leadership Reaction Course is a mission based training course designed to promote team-building and leadership skills. Each team had 20 minutes to complete a station that consisted of a mission objective and the parameters for completing the objective. Each team rotated through eight stations.
"It was fun and challenging to take part in a training activity that Soldiers actually experience," said Lauren Marzocca, an intern in CP&I's Power Division.
"One of the goals of the week was to get us to think like a Soldier, and for me, the immersive events were the most successful at realizing that goal," Marzocca said.
The LandNav course required the class to find land markers using nothing but eight-digit grid coordinates, a map, protractor and compass. No technology was allowed in the morning session. During the afternoon session, the teams were allowed to use smartphones and a Defense Advanced GPS Receiver, or DAGR, along with the map to find the land markers.
"It was quite the humbling experience," said Dan Weinman, a Positioning, Navigation and Timing intern in CP&I's Computing Platforms Division. "It also gave me an appreciation for how difficult navigating the woods without technology can be."
Participants said the week was a great success and will have a lasting impact on them and their careers.
"It is conversations and experiences with active-duty Soldiers that renew our inspiration, ignite our creativity and reawaken our drive," said Beverly Pepper, CP&I's Prototype, Test and Integration Division. "They are our customers and our job is to ease their burden."
"Having the opportunity to experience this event will continue to remind me every day throughout my career that everything we do has an impact on the mission and how important it is that we continue to become better at developing technologies to meet the needs of the Warfighter," said David Zeigler, CP&I's Strategic Initiatives Office.
The Greening Course has been briefed to the current APG Cohort Class and will be the basis for developing an APG-wide greening initiative as one of their community based projects.
The next CP&I greening week is being planned for September 2013.
CERDEC is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers.
RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness -- technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection, and sustainment -- to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.