By Mr. Kenneth David Hall (IMCOM)February 23, 2009
HUMPHREYS GARRISON - A critical training system developed by U.S. Army Forces Command to help save the lives of Soldiers in the event of vehicle rollovers is now available at USAG-Humphreys.
Training to certify instructors on the Army's High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (M114) Egress Trainer, known as the "HEAT" system began here Feb. 6.
The HEAT teaches Soldiers how to escape a vehicle from a variety of rotated positions.
"Our objective is to get Soldiers upside down to create muscle memory because we want them to know what it's like to be upside down," said Bob Methany, facility manager, USAG-Humphreys Water Survival Training Center. "We want them to experience disorientation, with all their weight being on their shoulders. We do this from a variety of positions where Soldiers will be able to be trained on how to properly support themselves while unbuckling a support harness to free themselves in the event of a roll-over."
Safety training from Army systems like the HEAT provides Soldiers the opportunity and experience to improve their chances of survival, and the training starts at the unit level.
"What we do here is teach unit instructors so that they can teach their Soldiers," said Methany. "What we'll have is Soldiers ranked sergeant and above sent to us from each unit and they will be trained in our instructor-operator course. They will be the ones who actually operate the equipment, and we'll be here as advisors at all times."
The HEAT system training course lasts one day, beginning with a two-hour class in the morning, and moving into a hands-on exercise.
"We can train up to 20 instructors every day," said Methany. "I think no more than 10 to 12 students should be trained by their NCO instructors as I like to do one-on-one, hands-on mentoring because I want to make sure they all got the training right. I test and challenge each instructor under fire because I want them to show me the training has been effective."
The HEAT system features three levels of training - basic, intermediate and advanced. Some of the advance training features simulations such as adverse weather and low-light conditions, and one or more doors being jammed shut, challenging Soldiers to find other ways of escape.
"This system is full of opportunities and there's a lot of ways we can train and challenge Soldiers to quickly and safely escape from vehicles that have rolled over during patrols or even during combat," said Methany. "We need to get our Soldiers trained on not only what to do in a roll-over situation, but also how to be creative on how to get out of a vehicle when underwater."