FORT BLISS, Texas – To an outsider, it looks like an indoor amusement park, with people strapped into a car that flips and turns, with an attendant at the controls. But, to Soldiers getting ready to deploy, it’s a ride that might save their lives in combat.
U.S. Soldiers in Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team used the Humvee Egress Assistance Trainer (HEAT) at Fort Bliss, Texas, September 13, 2019, to prepare to support Operation Spartan Shield in the Middle East. The trainer flips Soldiers strapped in seats configured like their military vehicles.
After the vehicle stops, the Soldiers have to unstrap themselves, which is challenging since they are upside down in full gear, and find a door latch that opens. After exiting, they must establish a security perimeter around the vehicle and account for all personnel.
“This training is important because when Soldiers go into theater, there’s a chance of IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) that can cause rollovers,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Cleon Morris, an observer controller with the 5-306 Brigade Support Battalion, First Army. “Knowing how to egress safely can save a life.”
Sgt. 1st Class Santina Brown, a finance management technician in the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, said being in a military accident is a humbling experience, which she learned firsthand from hitting IEDs while deployed in Iraq in 2009-2010.
“I always explain to Soldiers what they can expect and tell them it’s important to stay calm,” said Brown. “As a team, we will take care of one another and get safely out.”
For Pfc. Charmaine Robinson, an information technology specialist in the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, the training was well worth it.
“I thought this was a great experience,” said Robinson, who is going on her first deployment. “The key to me if we have a rollover, is helping assist our battle buddies get out the safest way.”
The simulation center at Fort Bliss has vehicle rollover trainers for the Humvee, Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (M-ATV) vehicle, and MaxxPro Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle.
“The unit is taking the training very seriously,” said Morris. “The leadership has been very supportive.”
The 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team is headquartered with the North Carolina Army National Guard and also includes Soldiers from the South Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia Army National Guard.