By Bob Reinert/USAG-Natick Public AffairsOctober 23, 2013
NATICK, Mass. (Oct. 24, 2013) -- No one understands better than a Soldier what his or her peers need in the field.
That's why Sgt. 1st Class Adam Adams has such an appreciation for the work done at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.
"My initial experience here was I was a bit overwhelmed by all the different work that Natick is doing here and the advancements in technology, especially in the way of load carriage and kitting for the Soldier," Adams said. "My experience is that there's a … dedicated force of both civilian and military here, and they're dedicated to trying to alleviate some of the hardships that the Soldier is facing downrange in combat."
A 15-year Army career that included a total of four deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan give the 38-year-old Lawrence, Kan., native a unique perspective.
"I'm an infantryman," said Adams, "so I've pretty much done all the jobs from a young SAW gunner all the way up to platoon sergeant."
When Adams was assigned to NSRDEC in April 2012, he was uncertain what was in store for him.
"Before I came here, I had no idea of all the different work that's being done here and the dedication … to help the Soldiers," Adams said. "One of the organizations I work very closely with is the OFIG -- the Operational Forces Interface Group. They dedicate a great deal of their time doing evaluations on different types of technologies, getting feedback from the Soldiers, which helps steer the programs forward from there."
Though he said he and his fellow infantrymen were part of "a very fickle group," Adams, the senior combat arms liaison at OFIG, said that their response to new technologies developed at Natick has been positive.
"Anything to help lighten the load, to make them more comfortable on today's battlefield, is going to be well received by the infantrymen," Adams said.
Given his background, Adams has great interest in advances made in load carriage technology at Natick since the first ruck sacks were introduced.
"The difference is immense and mostly with the focus on trying to make the Soldier more mobile … as well as lethal and more survivable on today's battlefields," Adams said.
Where else has Adams seen big changes?
"I'd say probably night vision and body armor are going to be probably on the foremost front of what's being done here in Natick in technologies," Adams said.
Adams said he wishes more Soldiers knew about the work done at Natick. He added some advice on how to spread the word.
"Soldiers are focused on training for combat roles and less focused on the (research and development) community," said Adams, "although I think that there should be probably some kind of curriculum built into NCO professional development courses that would allow them to understand what is being done in the R&D community for the Army and allow them to reach out and leverage some of the technologies that are being (developed) here."
Adams said he will always remember what he saw here.
"It's been incredibly eye opening," Adams said. "It's been an experience that I'll take with me the rest of my military career -- and even afterwards -- to see the dedication of the civilian force here, as well as the military force. It's dedicated to try to develop better equipment for our Soldiers and help them on their everyday missions."