News: HEAT simulator rolls Marines through training
Story by Lance Cpl. Charles Clark
IWAKUNI, Japan - Station Installation Personnel Administration Center Marines trained in the Humvee Egress Assistance Trainer here July 11, 2012.
The HEAT simulates a rolling-over Humvee, which occurs when a topheavy load, improvised explosive device or unfavorable road and weather conditions flip a Humvee.
The HEAT simulator rotates in a full 360-degree rotation, which allows for upside down or sideflipped egress scenarios.
The HEAT is one of two machines here which simulate military vehicles rolling over. The other is the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Egress Trainer. The training ensured the Marines would know what to do in the event they are in an overturned Humvee.
“You can’t always depend on your job to keep you safe while in the military,” said Staff Sgt. Tressia K. Rakestraw, station IPAC personal management branch staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge. “As Marines, we step out of our box a lot in order to complete the mission. The HEAT training pushes the Marines out of their comfort zones and gets them ready for what they might be doing in the future.”
Although several examples of flipped Humvees came from combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, there have been instances at installations as close as Okinawa where Humvees rolled over. Lives were lost during those accidents.
There have never been such accidents aboard station, said Justin Taylor, HEAT instructor, but Marines train for any occurrence because safety is the first line of defense in preventing injuries.
“Marines train like we fight,” said Rakestraw. “This training helps show my Marines what their brothers and sisters experience in a combat environment and how they too can stay safe and help others if this situation should happen to them.”
The IPAC Marines received required training classes and medical approval before donning flak jackets, Kevlar, rubber rifles, goggles and elbow and kneepads before entering the HEAT simulator.
“When I first climbed into the simulator, it was really fun because you’re with your fellow Marines experiencing something new and different together,” said Lance Cpl. Casey J. Woerpel, IPAC travel claims clerk. “After it started to spin, I started to focus on what I would do next to keep myself upright and help the other Marines to get out of the machine and set up a security perimeter around the simulator.”
Sgt. Trelane D. Johnson, IPAC noncommissioned officer-in-charge, and Sgt. Aldo Pena, Personal Management Branch NCOIC with station IPAC , trained to become HEAT simulator trainers during the classes and exercises.
The HEAT simulator cannot train Marines for every situation, but specific scenarios are part of the training. During the training, one of the four Marines in the simulator was assigned to be an injured passenger. The three other Marines in the Humvee had to get the injured Marine out of the simulator and provide security.
After each run through the machine, the Marines were briefed about what they did correctly and what they needed to improve upon during the next simulation.
”It’s good to get out of your billet description and do the things other Marines do and experience,” said Woerpel. “This has opened my eyes to how scared Marines were in these situations and how brave they had to be to live through it.”
The IPAC Marines scheduled for the different IPAC sections to receive HEAT training at different times so each Marine would have plenty of time in the simulator.
With the HEAT training under their belts, the IPAC Marines continue to train as Marines fight.