By Spc. Kevin Harrison, 99th Public Affairs OfficeAugust 5, 2010
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J., Aug. 4, 2010 - Soldiers of the 99th Regional Support Command practice overturned vehicle exiting procedures in the Humvee Egress Assessment Trainer (HEAT) during HEAT training here.
The simulator accompanies a class designed to give Soldiers practical experience exiting an overturned vehicle. This is one of many different training events 99th Soldiers plan to undergo as a part of their annual training. The five-day event includes rifle marksmanship, medical training and other classes that help keep the Soldiers' battle skills sharp.
"Obviously rollovers are an issue in theater, so everything the instructors put out for the Soldiers better prepares them for situations like that. It gives Soldiers an idea of what can occur over there in real life," said Staff Sgt. Heather Smith, Soldier Readiness Processing team plans and operations sergeant, 99th Regional Support Command.
The HEAT simulator resembles a battle-ready Humvee, but the frame is securely suspended above ground. This design allows the trainer to be capable of rotating and stopping in various positions, giving it the unique ability to replicate the unfortunate event of an accident turning the vehicle over. This gives Soldiers practical experience in the safe exit of overturned vehicles in any position.
"We go over a lot of statistics, proper ways to hold the gunner down, and certain things that are the main causes of rollovers. It (the class) also teaches things to do and not to do to prevent rollovers from happening and precautions taken in the case of a rollover to prevent further injury and deaths," said Staff Sgt. Matthew Parsons, an instructor with 72nd Field Artillery Brigade.
Before the HEAT simulator was developed, Soldiers would do rollover drills in a stationary up-armored Humvee sat upright. The new simulator adds vibrancy to the previous training.
Before entering the simulator, instructors first lecture from a PowerPoint presentation that highlights the important safety points on exiting an overturned vehicle. Next, the instructors give Soldiers reinforcement exercises to highlight the important safety measures. Once the exercises are complete, the Soldiers are ready for two trips through the rollover simulator.
The class allows each Soldier to go through the HEAT simulator twice. Parsons said one simulation will be designed to practice exit from an overturned vehicle on land and the other to practice techniques to egress a vehicle submerged in water.
"If the Soldiers didn't do something correctly, the instructors would stand there and assist them and explain what they did wrong and how to fix it and still keep the training process going," said Smith.
The class is not only informative, but also becomes entertaining for the students and the instructors. Parsons said when Soldiers come in motivated, it heightens the motivation of the instructors and it helps Soldiers learn while having a good time.
As 99th Soldiers move on with the rest of their training, they leave with a better knowledge of vehicle egress, a more extensive knowledge of preventing vehicle inversion, and, perhaps, a little shaken up.