By Sam CampbellFebruary 12, 2020
Fort Leonard Wood's Training Support Center Fabrication Shop repairs and creates devices year-round, allowing a multitude of units to meet their training mission goals. Their recent fabrication of new training aids for an automated mine dispersal technology -- called the SAVO, or Standoff Activated Volcano Obstacle -- has received much applause after the fabricators here went above and beyond to improve on the original specifications.
According to Maj. Eron Hilty, an engineer operations officer with the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado, SAVO is designed as a directed obstacle capability using existing mines, without activating them until required.
TSC officials said the shop received schematics for the training devices from the Combat Capabilities Development Command-Armaments Center here and began assembly about a year and a half ago.
Brian Black, a maneuver support specialist with CCDC-AC, said the fabrication shop has set a new standard for SAVO training devices.
"They've had an impact on this program, the SAVO, by having that mock-up training aid possibly years ahead of the official Army (training) device," he said. "That fabrication shop, the equipment and the personnel that are in there with those abilities only increased the training value at Fort Leonard Wood."
Black said the shop created the first set for his team, and through word of mouth, engineers at Fort Carson heard about the training devices and requested a set of their own.
"If you can think of it, they're probably going to be able to make it," Black added.
Last month, Fort Leonard Wood's TSC created and shipped additional devices to Fort Carson allowing the 4th Infantry Division to begin training on the SAVO ahead of the technology's official production release and distribution, officials said.
Black said before sending the devices to Colorado, the TSC Fabrication Shop team made improvements to the design, such as with weight reduction.
Training Instructor Supervisor Juan Rodriguez said his staff also increased the durability of the baseplates and launcher blocks for the SAVO training aids by adding a layer of aluminum, thereby reducing wear and tear from the insertion and retraction of canisters into the mechanism.
"That's not something that was in the schematics initially," Black said. "It was a modification that (TSC officials) thought of and the user said 'That's really great.'"
According to Rodriguez, Fort Leonard Wood's Fabrication Shop is unique in its capabilities and can tailor make training devices if none already exist.
"Not many places have the same equipment," he said. "For instance, (the) Sapper Leader Course -- they came to us. They gave us a picture and what they wanted designed."
Rodriguez said he welcomes units to request training devices, as long as what they seek isn't already available through official Army training inventories.
"(We) came up with a mortar tube that was designed for the Sapper Leader Course to serve their training intent," he added. "We also fabricated ... cratering charges for the 1st Engineer Brigade."
Master Sgt. Nolan Yuke, an engineer with the 4th Infantry Division, confirmed that the training aids from Fort Leonard Wood would allow his installation to train engineers on the SAVO.
Ken Mann, who operates machinery at the fabrication shop, said if units provide specifications for a device, chances are he can make it for them.
"A lot of times, we get a hand-drawn part, or units will come in and try to explain to us what they want," he said. "We try to (make) it to the best of our ability."