[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                     March 28, 2008
Training

Mobilized Soldiers learn 
Humvee rollover techniques

By Tom Michele, The Real McCoy Contributor

      Kentucky Army National Guard Soldiers are very used to the rolling hills of their home state -- used to maneuvering on the slopes, which can be steep, slippery, soft, and perilous.

      But not as perilous as simulations they encountered recently at Fort McCoy.

Photo: Staff Sgt. Quincy Glover (left) closely watches an overturned Soldier begin his escape from an overturned Humvee during HEAT classes. Glover is the HEAT assistant NCOIC. (Photo by Tom Michele)
Staff Sgt. Quincy Glover (left) closely watches an overturned Soldier begin his escape from an overturned Humvee during HEAT classes. Glover is the HEAT assistant NCOIC. (Photo by Tom Michele)

      The Kentucky Soldiers of the 201st Engineers Battalion found themselves upside down, bracing themselves on the ceiling of their Humvee -- that is now a floor.

      Seat-belt strapped in, weapons, ammunition, radios, personal gear, fighting equipment tumbling in any or every direction, the Soldiers learned how to survive and escape an overturned Hummer as part of their mobilization training.

      The Humvee they used didn't have any of the engine, transmission or wheel and axle components found on a normally road-worthy vehicle.

      The Fort McCoy Humvee used to acquaint Soldiers with survival is mounted on an axle-like apparatus that allows instructors to rapidly turn over the vehicle sideways in a 360-degree pattern, degree by degree, and only fast enough to simulate what an improvised explosive device might do or the results of a rollover into a ditch.

      About 500 Kentucky Guard Soldiers are going through the Humvee Egress Assistance Training (HEAT) as a segment of their pre-deployment mobilization training.

      The HEAT apparatus is set up in one of the vehicle classrooms in the 2700 block of the cantonment area.

      The training staff selects four Soldiers at a time, briefs them about what they will be going through, and then belts them into the Hummer for the gentle rolling spin.

      Egress techniques have each and every Soldier hollering "rollover" as they use their hands and arms to brace themselves on the ceiling that becomes a floor.

      Getting their seat belts off is one challenge, as the Soldier is hanging upside down from what is now the ceiling. Reorienting the human body in cramped space is another instant task.

Photo: Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Martinez (right) checks Spc. David Wade's basic Soldier load after the practical phase of HEAT classes. (Photo by Tom Michele)
Sgt. 1st Class Raymond Martinez (right) checks Spc. David Wade's basic Soldier load after the practical phase of HEAT classes. (Photo by Tom Michele)

     Speed obviously is important, but, Soldiers have the additional concern of an enemy force firing at them. Once Soldiers are out of the vehicle, it is time to secure the vehicle and sensitive and valuable items, such as radios, weapons and ammunition. A Soldier may need to care for an injured buddy.

      Simple becomes complex, and easily life-threatening.

     Staff Sgt. Quincy Glover, assistant NCOIC for the HEAT class, said, "We teach Soldiers how to minimize injuries, help their buddies and to show them how to figure out the better or best way to get out of a rolled-over Humvee. We show them several scenarios, including being in water, such as at a bridge."

     Glover, an instructor with the 1st of the 340th Training Support Battalion, who has been on the training staff since June 2007, said Soldiers go through a one-hour classroom session then spend  half-an-hour going through the simulator.

      "We emphasize Soldiers being safety conscious, not to panic, keep their focus, maintain their orientation, know their surroundings, know if they are under fire, getting out of the vehicle, getting their buddies out and getting sensitive items, like weapons, out," he said.

      The HEAT simulation uses a four-person scenario with a vehicle commander, driver and two crew members.

      One of those crew members could easily be a gunner standing in a turret of a Hummer. An inside crew member is responsible, if at all possible, to grab the turret gunner and pull them inside the vehicle as the whole rollover scene is happening.

     It is more real life than simulation, as the overturned Soldiers react to being upside down, escaping their seat belts, reorienting themselves to an upright position, finding a door to exit, opening the heavy door, then crawling out.

      This is not the first year of HEAT training at McCoy, but the model of the trainer now at McCoy compared to  the first year is more advanced in operation, and, as Glover emphasized, "Safer and more versatile."

      The new trainer arrived at McCoy last November. A second trainer is expected to arrive at McCoy later this summer.

      Glover also noted, "We want the Soldiers to learn how to get out properly and without injury, particularly to their head, neck and spine. That overturned Soldier is taught to brace themselves against the vehicle ceiling with their hands and arms and to keep their chin tucked in so they won't become a bobble-head and get more injuries. That's what we want our Soldiers to take out of this class in case, God forbid, they get into this situation."

     Glover noted the HEAT trainer is a simulated up-armored Hummer chassis, as the canvas-skinned Humvees "don't go outside the wire of the forward operating base. Only the up-armored Hummers venture into threat areas."

(Michele is a public affairs specialist for Eagle Systems and Services Inc., contractor for CONUS Support Base Services.)

 

[ Top of Page ]

[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]