By Dan Lafontaine, RDECOM Public AffairsApril 22, 2016
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (April 22, 2016) -- U.S. Army technology advisors converged for an exercise in South Korea March 7-18 to talk with Soldiers about topics such as combat vehicles, weapons systems, aviation and satellite communications.
Army Reserve officers deployed for the annual Key Resolve and Foal Eagle exercise to augment the full-time Field Assistance in Science and Technology team.
Lt. Col. Marc Meeker is the forward-deployed FAST advisor at U.S. Forces Korea.
"Our goal is to leverage RDECOM's engineering expertise to expedite technology to the Soldier, while taking requirements back to our labs that will guide the development of future technologies," Meeker said.
The Army Research, Development and Engineering Command stations FAST advisors around the world to provide commanders with access to its thousands of subject matter experts.
The Reserve officers, who are assigned to Army Sustainment Command's Detachment 8, are selected for their knowledge in scientific and engineering disciplines, Meeker said. They met with units to identify and discuss capability gaps, which are then directed to RDECOM's network for evaluation.
Soldiers of the 25th Infantry Division's 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team commented on all variants of the Stryker wheeled personnel carrier.
Maj. John Kelly, a Detachment 8 officer who has a doctorate in electrical engineering, said his Field Artillery experience helps him understand the wheeled and tracked vehicle systems as part of RDECOM's Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center.
"I spent several years working for the automotive industry, and there are many similarities between Army vehicles and what people drive," Kelly said.
FAST advisors fielded questions about the Remote Weapons Station; interoperability of communication systems; and challenges with the subsystems on the Nuclear, Biological, Chemical, Reconnaissance Vehicle. The team relayed input to engineers at TARDEC and RDECOM's Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center.
"There was a challenge with the interface between the M2 .50 Cal and the Remote Weapon Station. ARDEC engineers, working with Project Manager Soldier Weapons, were able to provide an immediate solution," Meeker said.
Lt. Col. Brian Wood works as a full-time Army civilian at RDECOM's Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center.
"The Soldier is a complex platform with a wide array of requirements from clothing, shelter and equipment to nutrition, physical and cognitive wellbeing, all of which must be considered and in synch to continue to field the best equipped, most capable fighting force," Wood said. "It is exceptionally important to meet with and understand the needs of our Soldiers from their perspective and communicate these back to RDECOM for solutions."
Aviators and air crews from the 3-25 General Support Aviation Battalion suggested improvements to CH-47 Chinook fast-rope systems and a novel idea on developing biodegradable over-the-water targets for aerial gunnery, Meeker said. RDECOM engineers are evaluating those as well.
Sgt. 1st Class Jeff Miller of the 319th Expeditionary Signal Battalion provided subject matter expertise on networks and satellite communications as the team traveled in South Korea.
"Having him on board was great, since most of us have a mechanical engineering background," Meeker said. "He assisted in the cyber side of things at USFK as well because he has exactly the right skill set, and we were fortunate to have him on loan during the exercise."
The team spoke with about 120 students at Seoul American High School on the benefits of a career in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.
"We covered different paths to success and the importance of working hard and keeping doors open for future opportunities," Wood said. "We were able to share our different paths to success in STEM-related careers and field their questions about scholarships, internships and careers as a scientist working on the coolest new technologies for our warfighters."
The U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command has the mission to ensure decisive overmatch for unified land operations to empower the Army, the joint warfighter and our nation. RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.