By Susanne Kappler, Fort Jackson LeaderMay 11, 2011
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- The Sailors and Soldiers deploying after training with Task Force Marshall now have a new tool at their disposal to help them prepare for their time overseas. The Navy has purchased a Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected Egress Trainer to prepare service members on how to react in case their MRAP, an up-armored vehicle widely used in combat, rolls over.
"It's actually a CENTCOM requirement - anybody going into theater in the Middle East has to be qualified to know how to egress after a rollover accident," said Navy Capt. F. Christopher Smilek, officer-in-charge of Navy Individual Augmentee Combat Training. "And this trainer is what gets Sailors and Soldiers familiar with that. They have to go through four different evolutions of (exiting) through the trainer in a 90 degree, a 270 degree, a 180 degree and a water-simulated situation. That way, if they ever get in that situation in theater, they know exactly how to react."
The trainer consists of an MRAP body on rotating wheels, which allows for the simulations of various degrees of rollover. Before purchasing the equipment, Task Force Marshall conducted training in a Humvee Egress Assistance Trainer, which Smilek said was no longer practical.
"In theater, Soldiers and Sailors are not driving the Humvees anymore, they're all going in the MRAP," Smilek said.
Task Force Marshall trains approximately 200 Sailors for deployment every three weeks, plus Soldiers who are called up from Individual Ready Reserve. Lt. Col. Joel Bryant, who took over as Task Force Marshall's commander in March, said that before receiving the trainer at Fort Jackson, deploying service members had to receive the training at their deployment destination.
"If we can do that training here it means that once they get to theater they don't have to do that training." Bryant said. "So it could shorten the timeline, and it can expedite their availability to the gaining unit in theater."
Training with the MET not only teaches the service members how to safely exit the vehicle after a rollover, but also how to secure the area.
"It helps to know these skills, especially in Afghanistan where the terrain is really uneven and really mountainous," said Staff Sgt. Leon Carr, a drill sergeant with Task Force Marshall who was certified in using the MET trainer May 5. "The simulation is a good tool to use in getting these Sailors and Soldiers familiarized with rollovers and knowing how it feels. Once you spin around, you're actually disoriented, because you may roll numerous times before the vehicle comes to a stop, whether it stops on the side or inverted at 180 degrees."