CAMP CASEY, REPUBLIC OF KOREA -- 30 Soldiers from 41st Signal Battalion's Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment convoyed to the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle Egress Assistance Trainer facility to incorporate vehicle roll-over training as part of their week-long, post-Key Resolve White Week training program, in Dongducheon, South Korea.
HEAT training allows Soldiers to train how to get out of a HMMWV in the event of a vehicle rollover by conducting training on how to exit the vehicle and then actually practicing exiting the HEAT after a simulated roll-over.
Sgt 1st Class Shawn M. Trignano, Area II Information Awareness for the Network Enterprise Center and headquarters platoon sergeant, 201st Signal Company, 41st Signal Battalion, as an expert in the subject matter was the lead instructor of the session.
Before conducting the actual roll-over training in the HEAT system, Trignano first shared his in-depth knowledge and experience on vehicle rollover with the participants through training in a classroom setting.
"The HEAT system is designed to reinforce the importance of seat positioning, wearing seatbelts, demonstrating the feeling of being confused and disorientated," said Trignano. "Try not to panic as the vehicle rolls over and make sure to communicate with each other while executing the egress procedure."
After a two hour long familiarization through theory and instructions, Soldiers ensured that their full battle rattle, mask and dummy weapons were in place as instructed and commenced the simulation experience.
Pairing up in groups of four, Soldiers took turns trying out the HEAT system shouting, "Rollover, rollover, rollover!" as the vehicle started tipping over. After a few turns, the vehicle stood still the upside down position and the Soldiers worked to extricate themselves as the instructor ordered, "Egress, egress, egress!"
It took a while for the Soldiers to regain composure and get out of the upturned vehicle. Some even forgot to maintain possession of their weapon as a result of being in sudden panic.
"This training really showed how important it is to wear your seatbelt and to keep the vehicle clean," said Pfc. Kristian Toth, an Information Technology Specialist in HHD. "Also, I was surprised that the door would not open easily which I think made the Soldiers panic more as we tried to egress."
After the training was concluded, Capt. Frederick H. Do, commander, HHD, shared his experience and insights with the participants. "It is good to see that most of you enjoyed the training, but I just wanted to point out that this is not a carnival ride when it occurs in real life," said Do. "When I deployed in Iraq, a HMMWV in our convoy had an actual roll-over during a mission. If the vehicle had fallen in water, the crew may not have made it alive."
Trignano also added, "I hope they got to familiarize themselves with buddy camaraderie through this training and had some fun with it as well, but also to get a perspective of what it is like and start to establish that muscle memory of been there done it. Hopefully they will never have to use it, but if they do hopefully they will be familiar as they have done it before."