By Mr. David Mcnally (RDECOM)January 13, 2010
SAN ANTONIO - The best student athletes from across the nation assembled in San Antonio, Texas last week for the 2010 All-American Bowl. This annual football game puts high school football players in a classic East - West competition hosted by the U.S. Army.
This year, West dominated the game beating East 30-14 in front of more than 34,000 fans and a nationally-televised audience. But the game is only part of the event. In the days before kickoff, Army Soldiers and civilians reached out to local high schools with technology demonstrations and future career information.
"We're telling the Army story," said Sgt. Maj. John L. Poff, senior enlisted leader for the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Massachusetts. "The one key thing out here is to support these kids. These kids are the future leaders of our Army. I'm excited to be here and be able to tell them about all the great technologies we're developing."
Poff represents an organization of Army civilian scientists, researchers and engineers who work round the clock to develop solutions to make "Soldiers strong, and America safe."
Poff said today's Army is a high-tech team, and the scientists, engineers and technicians at the Research, Development and Engineering Command are the ones making that happen.
Outside the San Antonio's Alamodome the Army set up interactive displays, games, and technology demonstrations to showcase Army technology. The "Army Strong Zone" featured high-tech vehicles running over junk cars, flying over jersey barriers and whipping 360 circles in the mud, much to the delight of onlookers.
RDECOM officials said one of the reasons the Army sponsors the All-American Bowl is to increase public awareness of Army's role in developing cutting-edge technology. For example, the Army's Future Soldier Initiative envisions scenarios for America's Warfighters complete with flame resistant clothing and forearm-mounted flexible computer displays.
A Soldier wearing sci-fi, composite armor stands next to Maj. Gen. Nick Justice, the RDECOM commanding general. "This is the astronaut version of a Soldier," Justice explains. "He can live in any environment. He can do anything. If I add the technologies here behind me, he can see through walls. He's got X-ray vision."
Just before game time Jan. 9, Justice escorted Secretary of the Army John McHugh through the Army's technology displays. The Army's Vice Chief of Staff, Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli also toured the zone.
The event gave Army scientists and engineers an opportunity to showcase their accomplishments in robotics. Today, Army robots investigate suspicious objects, acquire targets and carry heavy payloads.
Future Army vehicles may be hybrids using electricity and a silent approach to their advantage. Technicians from the Army's Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center demonstrated a hybrid Humvee. This diesel-electric vehicle may give future Soldiers a silent approach on the battlefield for up to 12 miles.
"This Humvee gets better mileage than the standard Humvee," said Brig. Gen. Harold Greene, RDECOM deputy commanding general. "It gives us the capability to operate silently. You'll never hear it coming." Green said future hybrids would lesson the need for moving millions of gallons of fuel around the battlefield and provide mobile generator power. These are just some of the technologies are all being developed by Army civilians.
This was the 10th year the Army has sponsored the All-American Bowl. Officials said the event give students a clear vision of the opportunities available in today's Army. "It's really cool stuff," said West player Austin Collingsworth from Fort Thomas, Ky. "It's incredible what technology has come to these days."
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