By Christine June, USAG Kaiserslautern Public AffairsNovember 7, 2007
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - Soldiers here can now prepare for when their world turns upside down thanks to the Training Support Center-Kaiserslautern's new teaching tool: the HMMWV (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle) Egress Assistance Trainer.
"It simulates rollover drills in a Humvee as a confidence builder for Soldiers heading downrange," said Hershel Lester, TSC-K training specialist. "If their Humvee gets hit by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) and flips upside down, the fear and panic is not there because they have already trained and practiced for that situation."
Now housed in the Kaiserslautern military community, H.E.A.T. is now more accessible to almost 3,000 Soldiers stationed here and those in surrounding communities of Heidelberg and Mannheim. Previously, Soldiers had to trek either to Baumholder or Grafenwoehr for this type of training.
Costing $250,000, H.E.A.T. is the only Army training device that allows Soldiers to practice a variety of egress techniques at different angles, said Lester. Showcasing these abilities, Kaiserslautern's training center hosted a grand opening for several 21st Theater Sustainment Command Soldiers Oct. 30 at the H.E.A.T.'s new home on Panzer Kaserne.
"It's so important to us that we get our guys trained ... so they will be able to handle and react to a rollover situation," said Lt. Col. Bob Curran, the 39th Transportation Battalion commander, who was one of the guest speakers at the grand opening. "The 39th Transportation Battalion is going to work this device very, very hard."
Actually, 39th TRANS is one of the first units to have certified H.E.A.T. instructors. These instructors, from the 5th Quartermaster Company, conducted two demonstrations at the grand opening.
"I scream 'rollover, rollover' to give us the concept that it (Humvee) is rolling over, rolling over, and so we can be ready," said Spc. Alejandro Cosme, 5th Quartermaster Company mechanic, who was one of the drivers during the demonstrations. "When it stops, we can all just start talking to each other - 'Are you okay' You okay' You okay'' and from there, we can have a plan to get out of the vehicle."
First of these demonstrations was when the Humvee was turned upside down in a 180-degree rollover with the Soldiers exiting out of one of the doors, and the other one saw the vehicle flipped to the left side making the gunner's cage the only viable exit.
"We want to give Soldiers more training so if in the event a vehicle turns over, they will have the muscle memory - intuitive response - on how to exit," said Anthony Moore, the TSC-K chief. "It's another tool for survival to bring our Soldiers back home."
Each unit must have two certified instructors in order for the rest of the Soldiers to receive H.E.A.T. training. These instructors must be NCOs and are trained by Lester in an eight-hour session. Once instructors are certified, the unit's training specialist can schedule the H.E.A.T. using the Range Facility Management Support System.