ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Scientists and engineers deploying to Afghanistan need to make Warfighters aware of the Army's technical solutions, Command Sgt. Major Hector Marin said March 21.

U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's senior officer, Maj. Gen. Nick Justice, and senior noncommissioned officer spoke to RDECOM civilians and Soldiers attending orientation and reach-back training in preparation for deployment.

"You have to get out there and get hands-on with the Warfighter," Marin said. "You have to understand the capabilities of the command."

Marin returned recently from Afghanistan, and he said many Soldiers are not aware of the capabilities developed by the Army's researchers.

"I sat down with an NCO, and he said, 'These guys are out in the middle of nowhere, and we can't get them chow.' I asked him if he knew about the First Strike Ration. He didn't," Marin said.

Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center developed the FSR and fielded it in 2010 as an alternative to the Meal Ready-to-Eat, commonly known as the MRE.

Justice discussed attaching slat armor to vehicles during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 as an example of engineering applied quickly during combat.

Marin and Justice told the group not to settle within the confines of the Forward Operating Base. They need to talk with everyone around them in theater -- Soldiers, program managers, engineers, technicians -- in order to be effective.

"Within your battlespace, people need to know that you're there," Marin said. "You are extremely important to the mission on the ground."

Marin expressed his gratitude for RDECOM's Science and Technology Acquisition Corps Advisors and Science and Technology Assistance Teams currently in theater.

"I went to a location in the middle of nowhere -- Camp Leatherneck. They were talking about our officers and NCOs, and that's very rewarding," he said.