A new tool on station to help prepare servicemembers for combat zones is the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Egress Trainer.
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- The MET is one of two machines here which simulate military vehicles rolling over, possibly in combat situations. The other is the Humvee Egress Assistance Trainer, that simulates the rolling over motion of a Humvee.
In a hostile environment, most would expect fatalities to come from enemies using improvised explosive devices or other weapons, not from the simple overturning of a vehicle. Unfortunately, this has sometimes been the case.
Bill Steeves, MET Instructor/Operator/ Maintainer said some deaths over the years were as a result of the top heaviness of MRAPs.
The inherent top heaviness of the MRAP was not a primary consideration when the vehicles were initially brought into production to protect servicemembers from roadside explosions. It wasn’t until the number of the servicemembers seriously injured or killed rose that a need for training on how to react so such instances became apparent.
“We didn’t know they were prone to rollover,” said Steeves.
The MET is a massive construct which rotates on its axis to allow a complete 360 degree rotation.
Servicemembers must protect themselves from loose gear during a rollover and then quickly and safely exit the machine through the rear, side, or top gunner's hatch.
The operator of the trainer watches over the servicemembers from a console with a live-video feed. Servicemembers are required to strap in before operation of the machine, as in any vehicle. A person who isn’t secured can become a living projectile bombarding others inside. Servicemembers are graded on how quickly they determine which hatch is not secured and how quickly they can egress from the simulator. Steeves believes that because of the simulator’s abilities, servicemembers chances of survival from a rollover have increased dramatically.
“Rollover deaths have decreased steadily since they brought (the simulator) on stations,” said Steeves.
Though the simulator provides a realistic interpretation of a rollover, there are still other variables which can still make a rollover particularly dangerous.
“Eventually, we’re going to get a combat lifesaving dummy to simulate an injured Marine,” said Steeves. “Someone’s going to be injured. What we try to convey to them is the situation in the trainer is a lot more controlled. This is to get them to think on their feet and have situational awareness.”
Though the simulator is designed to cover most situations when it concerns a rollover, there are certain aspects of MRAPs which vary from model to model.
“There are different types of MRAP made by different types of manufacturers,” said Steeves.
Marines must able to get to a combat zone and fight. They cannot do that if a rollover occurs and causes them to affect mission success. If they do find themselves in such a situation, they must be able to have the knowhow to quickly and efficiently recover, help their fellow Marines and press forward. The MET offers them the opportunity to be able to do that and develop situational awareness in case that should ever happen.