MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Hands reach out into an unending darkness as Marines with Company F, Anti-Terrorism Battalion, attached to 2nd Marine Division, try to steady their world as it rolls out of their control. Suddenly, the rolling comes to a stop and somewhere in the darkness the Marines hear, “Egress!”
Over and over again, the Marines donned pairs of blackout goggles and took their seats in the humvee roll-over simulator at the Humvee Egress Assistance Trainer course aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., June 28, 2011.
The HEAT is a roll-over simulator that reinforces seatbelt use while teaching Marines procedures to follow in the event of a roll-over. During the simulations the Marines must egress the over-turned vehicle under different conditions, provide security and then react to enemy contact.
“The trainer puts the Marines in a situation where they are uncomfortable and unsure of what is happening by simulating exactly what can happen if their vehicle is rolled over,” said Staff Sgt. Brandon Maple, the platoon commander of 2nd platoon, Company F. “These simulations embed the Marines with the muscle memory that will allow them to better react and respond should they ever actually be involved in a roll-over while deployed.”
Throughout the HEAT, Marines undergo three simulations encompassing different situations that could occur if they are ever in a roll-over while deployed. They begin with a 90-degree egress simulation followed by a 180-degree roll-over simulating a vehicle that has fully flipped upside down. The last simulation forces Marines to wear blackout goggles.
“These simulations teach the Marines how to egress a rolled vehicle day or night while giving them a greater appreciation of how difficult it is to move around inside the tight spaces while wearing (proper protective equipment),” said Sgt. Chris Coffey, a squad leader with 1st platoon, Company F.
Despite only receiving a two-hour period of instruction before undergoing the HEAT, the Marines excelled when the time came to use what they learned in the humvee roll-over simulator.
“The Marines are doing great through the simulations and seem to be gaining a lot from the experience,” said Coffey. “This is definitely great training for the Marines and will be invaluable should they ever have need of it.”