MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
Marines took part in a Humvee Egress Awareness Training course here Feb. 16. The course is for Marines who wish to become instructors.
The training is comprised of a written test and a practical application test using a machine to simulate the 360-degree rolling action of a humvee when it hit by an improved explosive device.
The class was brought about in response to the number of fatalities involving Humvees from IEDs.
“Due to the great many fatalities, we want to train these Marines on how to behave in that situation and egress safely,” said Robert Speaker, HEAT trainer program instructor. “We try to simulate as close as possible to the real thing. It gives them an idea of what it will be like when they actually are in a situation where a humvee does roll over and how to deal with that.”
The course is required for those preparing to deploy. Others took the course, so they can become instructors in the training.
“It was definitely good for me,” said Capt. Aaron Schnetzler, a Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 air speed officer. “Hopefully, this will all stay with me if I ever find myself in a situation like this.”
Schnetzler deployed to Afghanistan on Sunday.
The course simulator is modeled after a humvee cabin right down to having two side hatches and a gunner’s hatch. The simulator is held in place by two thick safety pins to keep the cabin from spinning when at rest.
As part of the training, Marines were tasked with evacuating from a rolled over humvee. Two Marines stood by the simulator with controllers to the machine. Four other Marines, in full combat gear and rubber rifles, climbed into the vehicle.
The occupants gave the signal to the controllers when they were ready. The lead controller would then yell out the machine was ready to rotate to his fellow controller and they would depress both controls simultaneously.
The simulator spun as the occupants yelled “Rollover!” The controllers then stopped the simulator on a 180 or 90 degree turn, leaving the Marines upside down or sideways after several turns.
The Marines then had four minutes to egress out of the simulator and set a perimeter.
Two other scenarios were added as they egressed. In the first scenario, dummy frags were tossed in to simulate the additional threat of a secondary attack as the Marines evacuated.
The other scenario had Marines evacuating a casualty as they set a perimeter around the simulator.
Several Marines removed their combat gear, after the course was finished, to reveal their uniforms soaked in sweat. Many joked about the humidity inside the vehicle but they all realized how training such as this could save their life or that of a fellow Marine.
Gunnery Sgt. Jesse Leam, Combat Logistics Company 36 motor transportation maintenance chief, said that the simulator offers Marines a way to train safely. Leam said that being in a humvee flip is difficult and confusing, but with the class it helps you to deal with that situation.
All the Marines participating in the course passed both the test and practical application and are now certified HEAT training instructors.